Mansfield's Berry Hill Park SAVED after council agrees to become 'corporate trustees'

Berry Hill Park is saved!
Berry Hill Park is saved!

The future of one of Mansfield's most-loved parks has been secured after Mansfield District Council agreed to take over its upkeep indefinitely.

Concern was raised about Berry Hill Park in October 2018 after its former trustees revealed they could "no longer afford" maintenance of the site.

Clare Dobb, organiser of a Berry Hill Park protest in November.

Clare Dobb, organiser of a Berry Hill Park protest in November.

The trustees told the council they would be forced to close the park if action was not taken to support them, calling on the council to take over control altogether.

But thanks to pressure from your Chad and the public in the form of petitions and protests, Mansfield District Council agreed to take control of the park for six months while a resolution for the site was secured.

And now, after more than eight months of uncertainty, the future of the park has been secured after councillors agreed to become permanent "corporate trustees" at the site and save it from closure.

Speaking at the full council meeting on July 16, there was an almost unanimous support from councillors about saving the park.

Berry Hill Park.

Berry Hill Park.

Councillor Andrew Tristram, Mansfield Independent Forum member for Berry Hill, said: "I fully support the council taking over control. The trustees have been struggling for a long time and I have been suggesting this for a number of years.

"Berry Hill is a fantastic park which has been neglected for years and I hope it will be maintained properly.

"It is a lasting legacy of the mining industry in Mansfield and is something we should cherish."

Andy Abrahams, Mansfield mayor, said: "I'm really pleased to have the opportunity for a rescue mission on the park.

"If the park was closed it could have been an area with high anti-social behaviour.

"It is an iconic park and now we have the opportunity to rescue it and bring it back, restore it and bring back events that helped make its name in the first place.

"We're looking to see what we can to to improve all parks in our area, not just Berry Hill."

The recommendation from environment chief Coun Andy Burgin was supported almost unanimously, with 31 councillors voting for it and three voting against.

Councillor Debra Barlow, independent member for Market Warsop, voted against the proposals, because she wanted support for other parks in the district.

She said: "As a member for Warsop I have to point out to the council that Warsop's parks have had no improvements for decades.

"I have struggled for years and it is not fair when we have second rate services for people outside Mansfield but more money is being asked for to put into a park in Mansfield."

The recommendations mean Mansfield District Council will need to find about £211,000 for maintenance to the park over the next three years, but councillors plan to find ways of running events on the park to bring in extra revenue.

Claire Tennant, member of the Friends of Berry Hill Park group, says it is "great news" that the council will take permanent control and that the group "can't wait" to move the park forward.

She said: "Friends of Berry Hill Park have requested a meeting following the council decision last night to work on next steps. We can’t wait to involve the wider community and move the park forward."