Applause filled the air as a packed audience in Clare Town Hall showed its support for the town council’s proposals to take over the future management of Clare Castle Country Park.
The town council has been in talks with Suffolk County Council since April 2011 to reach agreement over how the park should be run once the county passes over the management reins at the end of March.
The town council has drawn up a detailed business plan examining how every element of the park, which has 180,000 visitors each year, would be managed should it take it over.
Last Tuesday (January 29) Clare Town Council chairman Keith Haisman outlined the proposals during a public meeting, one attended by Suffolk County Council cabinet member Lisa Chambers, who has responsibility for country parks.
The plans drew praise from Dick Burge, whose comments were roundly applauded.
He said: “I appreciate all the work being done by the town council.
“They have spent countless hours with Suffolk County Council and I think they have the bones of a really good agreement and I hope everyone here will support them.”
Former Clare Parish Council chairman, John Martin, added: “It’s an interesting and exciting project. It’s one that should be supported.”
As part of the business plan the station master’s house would be improved and rented out to residential tenants to generate income for the park’s maintenance.
The visitor centre would be repaired and hired out to local groups such as The Scouts and the Youth Club.