'People power movement' helped keep Berry Hill Park alive
One of the campaigners responsible for rallying Mansfield residents to protect Berry Hill Park has praised the outcome of Thursday's meeting.
Clare Dobb organised a meeting outside CISWO's Berry Hill Lane headquarters on November 10 that saw more than 350 people take part in a peaceful protest, demanding that Berry Hill Park did not close "under any circumstances".
She also set up an online petition that had more than 7,500 signatures on it from residents, calling on Mansfield District Council to open dialogue with the Berry Hill Park trustees about the council becoming corporate trustees in the future - a dialogue which successfully began yesterday.
The outcome of yesterday's meeting meant that the council will now take control of the park's maintenance so that it can be enjoyed by the public whilst options are considered to secure its long-term future.
This will include the possibility of the council becoming a corporate trustee and consideration of the current liabilities in the future.
The trustees and the council have also agreed a regular programme of meetings to ensure that channels of communication remain open.
Following the meeting, Clare said: "The outcome from the meeting is definitely a start and it is exactly what we were asking from Mansfield District Council - negotiation and dialogue with the trustees and for the park to stay open.
"I think the people power movement certainly helped and it showed the council overall that the park closing was never an option, which made them realise a solution needed to be reached.
"We had the protest, the petition, people sharing on social media and even residents contacting their local councillors and the mayor to put pressure on the council, and I think without this there might not have been as much urgency.
"We will continue to protect and monitor the park with the Friends of Berry Hill Park group, and any planning application that comes in we will continue to oppose all the way.
"I don't think the planning issue will ever truly go away, but we will work with Mansfield District Council to provide instruction and comment about the park in the future.
"We know now how important local parks are and I think now we should start to protect all parks in the area and get people out looking after them.
"Thank you to everyone who signed the petition, who came out on the protest and who supported in our fight to save this park."
Speaking on behalf of Mansfield District Council, CISWO and the Trustees, Mansfield's mayor Kate Allsop was very "optimistic" about the future.
She said: “We are delighted to be able to support keeping this stunning and much-loved park open for everyone to enjoy.
"It is the right decision for Berry Hill Park and the residents of Mansfield District.
"We are working towards becoming a corporate trustee and this could take up to six months so, in the interim, the council will maintain the park whilst it remains the responsibility of the current Trustees.
"The aim is for the Council to take a decision regarding the park’s long term future in the new year."