Future of Mansfield's Berry Hill Park to be decided this week

Residents protest at Berry Hill Park.
Residents protest at Berry Hill Park.

A report outlining Mansfield District Council's "future commitments" to Berry Hill Park is set to be considered this week.

It comes after months of uncertainty about whether the much-loved park will stay open, with its trustees revealing in autumn last year that they can "no longer afford" its maintenance.

Clare Dobb, who organised the protest.

Clare Dobb, who organised the protest.

Mansfield District Council stepped in after the group called on it to take over control of the park and become "corporate trustees", with council officials holding "positive" meetings about the park's future on June 7.

And now a report, which assesses the financial "challenges" and "anticipated repairs" at the park, will be accessed by the council's new portfolio holder for environment, Councillor Andy Burgin.

Coun Burgin is expected to consider whether the "corporate trustee" model is the authority's favourable option, before making recommendations to councillors.

A council spokesman said: "The report sets out the challenges and financial situation regarding the park along with the uses and current governance arrangements.

Berry Hill Park.

Berry Hill Park.

"The report highlights the anticipated repairs needed on the park, of about £211,000 and maintenance plan costing about £32,000 per year should it become corporate trustee.

"Councillor Andy Burgin will consider whether the trustee model is favourable before making a recommendation to full council later this month."

When concern was first raised about the park's future in November 2018, residents banded together to form a protest against its closure.

Protesters were worried that the closure of the park would lead to "rogue developers" eventually "swooping in" and building houses on the park.

Multiple planning applications have been rejected to build houses on the park already, but campaigners in favour of saving the park believe a "good business plan" is needed.

Clare Dobb, who launched the 'Save Our Park' campaign, said: "I understand that all councils are under a financial strain.

"CISWO are not interested in the park, and planning permission has been rejected [for houses].

"This park is important to the town and community just as all the other parks are, and I think a good business plan will have this park covering all costs in a few years time."

Ben Bradley, Mansfield's MP, added: "I've been pressing the council and the trustees to sort this out, and as far as I'm concerned it should have been done and dusted six months ago.

"I've made very clear that as far as I'm concerned the Council made a firm commitment to take this on and anything less would be a total failure."