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Cllr Winnington by reservoir
Cllr Mark winnington at Chasewater Reservoir.

Open days to discuss how groups could manage Staffordshire’s countryside estate

Groups and organisations interested in managing the county’s countryside estate are being invited to a series of information days.

The events will provide an opportunity for groups  to find out how they can be involved in the management of sites and the tendering process.

The two events will take place at:

  • Chasewater Innovation Centre, Thursday 6 October, between 9:30am and 12noon.
  • Apedale Visitor Centre, Newcastle, 11 October between 1pm and 4pm.

Following three months of formal consultation on the future management of the countryside estate in January 2016, four preferred options were submitted and agreed by the County Council’s Cabinet in June.

The proposals recommend pursuing a mixture of two options for the sites. One suggests transferring management on a site-by-site basis to local community, or voluntary sector groups. The other proposes establishing partnerships of landowners from the public, private and charity sectors to manage all green spaces in an area.

Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for the Economy said:

This is the next step in the journey to find an effective way of running our countryside estate. We know we need different options to deliver the best results and now we need to talk to groups and potential partners about getting involved in taking over the management of these sites.

“The estate will remain safe in our hands, but the question has always been how best to manage the diverse country parks, greenways, picnic and other areas for everyone’s benefit and enjoyment in an affordable manner.

“We are keen to develop our existing partnerships but we also want to talk to other individuals, businesses and organisations.  The open days are a great way for people to find out more about the tendering process and I would encourage anyone interested in getting involved to book their place.”

The County Council’s countryside estate comprises of six country parks, nine picnic areas and three disused rail lines. The estate is well-used and highly valued by communities and visitors to the area, with an estimated three million visits each year.

To find out more or to book a place at the events contact Emma Beaman, Countryside Manager on 01785277240 or email emma.beaman@staffordshire.gov.uk