Colman family to end 25-year contract with Broads Authority over Whitlingham Country Park
- Credit: Christopher Keeley
The Colman family is to end a contract with the Broads Authority over the management of Whitlingham Country Park after a quarter of a century.
The trustees of the Whitlingham Charitable Trust have announced the Broads Authority will no longer manage the site from March 31 next year.
Since 1995 the Broads Authority has worked with the Trust and other partners to manage and maintain the upkeep of the park including the grounds, woodlands, pathways, visitor information centre at the Flint Barn and associated catering and cleaning contract.
They have said they are now "investigating" if it is possible to redeploy staff to other areas of the Broads.
Rangers currently working at Whitlingham will take up other roles on habitat, waterway maintenance and improvement programmes.
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"We would like to thank the Broads Authority for their commitment and are extremely grateful for their hard work over the last 25 years," said a spokesperson for Whitlingham Charitable Trust. "During this time the trust has benefited from the considerable support of the Broads Authority through appointments to the Trust and the management and maintenance services delivered under the existing arrangement."
"The trustees have however decided that the next phase in the Country Park's development is to be led by the charity independently from the Broads Authority. A plan to transition to the new arrangements is under development with a start date of 1 April 2020."
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Bill Dickson, Chairman of the Broads Authority, said: "We are sad that our 25 year partnership with the Colman family is coming to an end. We really wish the Trustees every success in building on what we have achieved together. I would like to emphasise that we will do everything we can to ensure a smooth transition.
"We regard Whitlingham Country Park as a hugely important public resource which offers people from Norwich, Norfolk and beyond a valuable open space for recreation and learning. For many people it has been their first experience and a great introduction to the Broads National Park with an estimated 500,000 visits every year.
"We are proud of our track record of maintenance and improvements at Whitlingham Country Park. The Authority has provided a solid platform for the Trust to continue providing a valued, popular and much loved public space as defined by the planning agreement under which it was created."
Whitlingham Country Park is managed and maintained by the Whitlingham Charitable Trust. The Country Park began its life with a transfer of Trowse Wood and Meadows to the Trust in 1992 by the Colman Family, the owners of Crown Point Estate. Further transfers of land and the two broads occurred in the 1990s through to 2004 when the Park as it exists today was finally created.