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Council in Talks to lease Prestwich parks to Forestry Commission

by prestwichfocus on 22 August, 2017

It has been confirmed that the Council is in discussion with the Forestry Commission about leasing significant parts of Prestwich’s parks and open spaces to the Government agency.

The Council owned sites that are subject to discussion with the FC are, in Prestwich:
· Philips Park and Mere Clough (Prestwich)
· Prestwich Clough excluding the St Mary’s Flower Park (Prestwich)
and further north:
· Outwood Trail linking Waterdale/Philips Park to Outwood
· Outwood
· Mount Zion Road sewage works
The area north of Waterdale that straddles the motorway is owned by United Utilities (UU) with the expectation that this could also be leased to the FC. Some areas of the parkland are already leased to the Forestry Commission (Drinkwater Park and Waterdale).

Negotiations with the FC are apparently still at an early stage and as yet no decision has been made, we assume that there would be an opportunity for local people to have their say on any proposals that at are made.

Prestwich Clough was donated as a park to Prestwich in 1906 by a local developer, Mr Gardner, while Phillips Park was bought as park in 1948 by the then Whitefield Council for use by both Whitefield and Prestwich.

We would be interested to know what your views are on leasing Council parkland to an external agency. Our parks do need investment and money spent on them, however our worry would be the lack of local control over our green spaces in the future.

As we reported recently the Council is in discussions with a football club about leasing two large areas of green space (off Sandgate Road and Clifton Road), most things like bowling greens are now ‘self managed’ by clubs, and we reported last week on plans to charge for the tennis courts at St Mary’s Park following a long term agreement with the Lawn Tennis Association.

If these proposals go ahead the pretty much the only parks in Prestwich which will still be in Council control will be St Mary’s Park, and St Mary’s Flower Garden.

We would be very interested in your views.

   4 Comments

4 Responses

  1. AJM says:

    I would welcome the FC taking over the management of Philips Park.

    Hopefully they will be able to open up some visitor facilities around the existing infrastructure. The park already has The Barn Centre with a classroom and toilets which are not generally available for public use, as well as the site of the old Park Hall. There are even office and storage spaces that would allow them to have staff based there which the council don’t now that the Ranger Service has been disbanded. It could become a central hub for the whole area ranging from the Clough to Outwood, with Waterdale and Hurst Woods, that the FC already manage, in the middle.

    The combined space would cover a considerable area that is presently underused.

    Also, the extensive and excellent bike and walking trails need to be properly managed and maintained, and maybe even expanded, by somebody who knows how to do it to allow continued free access for all users.

    The FC have experience in the management of such facilities. I think that this provides an opportunity to improve what is there and thus bring in more visitors.

  2. Lionel Holt says:

    To what end.. Why would you lease the parkland, what do the FC want with it.. where will Prestwich and Whitefield benefit from this..

  3. Joan E£vans says:

    I would certainly need to know more regarding why the Forrestry Commission wish to aquire our local parks. If in deed, we as a community would benefit from these purchases. Would hate to see us sold down the river.

  4. Derek Jackson says:

    FC management of Drinkwater and Waterdale this year has been lacking, no proper verge cutting, bike trails and paths overgrown and litter bins not emptied for over 4 weeks.
    Will this happen to these parks?

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