Calls for council action on Berry Hill Park as caretaker retires

Berry Hill Park, Mansfield
Berry Hill Park, Mansfield

A Mansfield running group have called on more action to ensure the future of Berry Hill Park after the park’s caretaker and keyholder retired.

Mansfield Harriers say they are no longer able to use the park’s changing facilities after they were asked to hand their keys in.

A spokesman for Mansfield District Council said the closure of the changing rooms was only temporary.

Stephen Davis of Mansfield Harriers said: “Mansfield Harriers and Athletics Club have had access to the changing rooms and toilets on Tuesday and Thursday evenings as well as Saturday mornings.

“We are going to have to return our keys, which is not good for about 40 of our track athletes and coaches who use this facility,

“Pressure needs to be applied to MDC to sort something out or even Ben Bradley who is a supporter of the club.”

John Stevens, a trustee of Berry Hill Park said:

Mansfield District Council, the trustees and CISWO have been working towards a solution which could see the council become corporate trustees of the park.

The public rallied to save the park after the trustees said they would have to close it due to lack of finances.

A protest in November to keep the park open for public use attracted hundreds of residents.

“The caretaker retired last week and the trustees have decided to close the facilites as we do not have the resources to keep them open and we have been suffering from vandalism on a regular basis.

“Hopefully the council will take over as corporate trustees on July and we will be able to relinquish control. I hope we will know more on Friday.

He said the facilities needed modernisation and the trustees did no want to be liable for any costs if people using them suffered an injury.”

A spokesman for the council said Mansfield District Council is continuing to work in partnership with the Trustees to secure the long-term future of Berry Hill Park.

The council agreed at the end of last year to provide the essential maintenance of the park on behalf of the Trustees while it considered more formal, longer-term options for the future of the privately-owned and managed park.

She added :” Whilst the Trustees had originally requested that the maintenance agreement ended today (31 May) the council has always offered to provide the service whilst the negotiations are on-going. The Trustees have agreed to extend the agreement to enable the park to remain open. This means essential maintenance, such as litter picking, grass cutting, leaf clearing and repairs, will continue to be carried out by the district council. We are aware of an issue concerning grass cutting of all areas which is currently being addressed.

“The Trustees have confirmed that maintenance work is required on the toilets and changing facilities but this is only a temporary closure of these areas and is being dealt with by the Trustees.”

Mayor Andy Abrahams, Councillor Andy Burgin, the Portfolio Holder for Environment, and Chief Executive Hayley Barsby, along with other council representatives, are due to meet with the Trustees on June 7.

A report, detailing possible options for the future of the park, is expected to be considered by the Council at the next Full Council meeting on July 16.

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