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Successful applicants identified for countryside estate management

The first groups to manage and maintain parts of Staffordshire County Council’s countryside estate have been chosen.

Subject to approval and agreement, Heath Hayes and Wimblebury Parish Council will take on the management and maintenance of Wimblebury Mound picnic area, while another group, which will be named in due course, will take on the management and maintenance of Consall Nature Park.

Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member responsible for the review, said:

The estate remains safe in the council’s ownership. The purpose of this exercise has been to consider ways of managing the diverse country parks, greenways, picnic and other areas for everyone’s benefit and enjoyment in an affordable manner.

I thank all those groups and organisations which showed an interest in this process – we have received some interesting ideas which we will consider further.”

The county council’s countryside estate comprises six large country parks, nine smaller picnic sites and three greenways – disused railways lines now used as cycle ways.

Day-to-day management and maintenance of the estate will be unaffected while the review process continues.

It’s anticipated that the successful applicants will take on their responsibilities later this year.

Mark Winnington said:

Both applications were very good and full of enthusiasm – I think the public will definitely see the benefit.”

Wimblebury Mound is also known locally as Cannel Mount and Ray Smythe, clerk to Heath Hayes and Wimblebury Parish Council, said:

We’re extremely happy with the news, this is an important, historic piece of land, which stands on the edge of Heath Hayes and has the most fantastic views.

A lot of footpaths and cycle routes travel though, or near here, and we hope to incorporate the Mount into a wider network of routes for people to enjoy.

We’ve already been in talks with local schools about using it to study nature, an urban orienteering group has expressed an interest in enjoying it and we’d like to create a ‘friends’ group to have local input into its future.”

A report on progress and next steps is scheduled to come before the county council’s Cabinet in the autumn.