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Country Park (ii)

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So while we've been trying to encourage the campaign supporters to become Friends what else has been going on at Milton Country Park?

Well, as you may remember Cambridge Sport Lakes Trust (CSLT) took it over back in April1.

The choice of CSLT was interesting in several respects. Most significantly that they were interested in bidding at all: they exist to create a new rowing lake on land between Milton and Waterbeach and although there is some logic in them taking on the Park2 it does divert their attention from their main objective i.e. creating the lake.

But they are now running the Park. They've retained the same staff as before, which is good news for the staff but keeps the running costs high, they've leased the fishing rights to the Cambridge Fish Preservation and Angling Society, and they have leased the café to Cafe Diem. They're also looking at re-modelling the inside of the Visitor Centre to make better use of it (and, hopefully, to increase their income from it). It's all positive stuff I think, although whether it will be enough to bridge the big gap between income and expenditure I'm not so sure.

Anyway two weeks from today they're holding a "Summer Celebration", essentially a summer fair, which they're hoping will be the first of many events in the Park (they've already got an Autumn/Harvest Celebration pencilled in too). I'll talk more about that later in the week.

They've also now had two open air plays in the Park this summer, plus other events. The Park feels alive at the moment. Which is good. Let's hope it lasts.

  1. A quick potted history for new readers. Milton Country Park was created back in the early 90s by South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) from pre-war gravel pits on the edge of our village of Milton. After the council's spending was reined in by central government they looked to offload the Park to a third party. In December 2006 after many months' of fruitless searching their Cabinet voted to shut the Park if no one could be found to take it on by the following Summer. We spent the first half of 2007 campaigning to Save Milton Country Park and eventually SCDC gave CSLT a 99 year lease on the Park along with a dowry of £250,000 to get them started but no ongoing financial support.
  2. It helps them fulfill some of their planning obligations to mitigate habitat loss and given that the lake, when it's dug, will use land immediately next to the Park means that having them as a combined unit will bring some economies of scale.

Tags: country park Written 04/08/08

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