Popular park purchased from family whose name will be preserved
- Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021
A 50-acre grade two listed park has been purchased by a parish council after being owned by four generations of a local family.
Old Catton Parish Council has been supported by Broadland District Council to fully take on Catton Park, which was being rented from the Buxton family.
Andrew Buxton, 86, who was born in Catton Hall, has allowed the parish council to own the park, which had been purchased by his great-grandfather Samuel Gurney Buxton in 1866.
In appreciation of Mr Buxton, as one of the founding trustees of the park and the support he has given to Catton Park Trust, the parish council will be changing the name of the educational building in the park, Hayman Lodge, to Buxton Lodge.
There will also be a permanent display of the Buxton family's history inside the lodge which will be unveiled at a later date after covid restrictions are lifted.
The purchase coincides with the anniversary of Humphry Repton's death this week, with Catton Park being his first commission as a landscape gardener.
And it ensures the parish council is complying with Neighbourhood Plan policies by protecting green spaces within the parish, ensuring all the community continue to enjoy the park.
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Mr Buxton said: "The parish council took on the management of the park five-years-ago and have done a very good job. Making the freehold of my land available to them gives them continuity and a certain standing as the owners to deal with any major issues that needs sorting out.
"I am very pleased they decided to rename the lodge after my family which has been connected to the park for 155 years."
He added that his father would be happy with the number of people now enjoying the park in the way the family did.
Funding for the purchase has been provided through parish council reserves and section 106 green infrastructure money from Broadland District Council.
Bradley Sabberton-Coe, chairman of Old Catton Parish Council, said: "The parish council intends to ensure that Catton Park maintains its reputation as a great park, promoting a safe, attractive, natural environment seeped in character and heritage.
"On the anniversary of Humphry Repton's death [Wednesday], this is another significant and positive landmark for Catton Park and the people of Old Catton."
He also thanked the parish clerk Sarah Vincent for her tireless effort in making the purchase a reality.
Broadland district councillor Ken Leggett said: "The decision of Old Catton Parish Council to purchase an area of the park is very welcome news and will keep this enjoyable landscape asset in Old Catton, retaining the status of grade two in the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens which makes it important at a national level.
"The Parish Council as trustees of Catton Park and Matthew Caley, park warden, have done a great job in maintaining this beautiful area."
Broadland District Council chairman Karen Vincent added: "We have all discovered over the past year just how important it is to be able to spend time, out in the open, with our friends and family.
"That’s why I am so delighted we have been able to help protect this historic parkland in the heart of the Old Catton Conservation area by enabling the Parish Council to purchase the land.
"This beautiful park originally laid out by celebrated landscape gardener Humphry Repton forms a unique part of the heritage of the district”.