£5m for future of country parks

Frickley Country Park
Frickley Country Park

A MULTI-MILLION pound grant will help to secure the future of two country parks in the Express area.

Wakefield Council has received an agreement in principle from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) for £4.9m of funding for the long-term management and maintenance of three country parks.

The money will help secure the future of Frickley Country Park in South Elmsall, Rabbit Ings, which lies between Ryhill, Havercroft and South Hiendley, and Fryston in Castleford.

All three were created from former coalfield sites and will soon be transferred from the council to the Land Trust, a charity which manages green spaces on behalf of local communities.

The funding will transfer directly from the HCA to the Land Trust and will fund ongoing management and maintenance of each site into the future.

The council’s cabinet will look at transferring extra cash provided by the Coal Board for the running of the Frickley site at its meeting next Tuesday, making the total up to £6.6m for the three parks.

Coun Denise Jeffery, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and economic growth, said: “This money is fantastic news for these country parks. It ensures their future is secure and that they can be properly maintained for visitors to enjoy. We will work closely with local residents and businesses, along with the Land Trust and the HCA to make the transfer as quick and smooth as possible.”

A local advisory panel could also be set up on each site, made up of local residents and representatives of the Land Trust, which would give people the chance to get involved in the operation of the parks.

Naz Parkar, head of area for the HCA, said: “It is great news that we have been able to work with the council to ensure a long-term future for these fantastic community assets. The Land Trust has the expertise to ensure that these three sites will be managed for the benefit of all local residents.”