Rising 266 metres above the Lancashire countryside with views across to Preston and surrounded by 75 hectares, a country park could be yours as the county council looks to sell it.Advertisement
Lancashire County Council says it wants to save £440,000-a-year by offloading the likes of Beacon Fell to other organisations.
The council’s Countryside Service is due to be stopped by April 2018 and it confirmed it has received 19 expressions of interest to run part of its service or individual sites.
More than 4,000 people signed a petition in December last year calling for the Beacon Fell visitor centre to be kept open.
County Councillor Marcus Johnstone, cabinet member for environment, planning, and cultural services, said: “I’m very grateful for the level of interest we’ve received in the future of these sites from other organisations and I hope that they can continue to be well-maintained for people’s enjoyment.
“We have 93 countryside sites which range from former industrial sites which are now small nature reserves, to big country parks, and I know how much people value them, both for their own enjoyment, and the contribution they make towards preserving our natural environment.
“The last thing we want to do is close or stop maintaining them, but the financial situation facing the county council is hugely challenging as we try to save a further £200m by 2020 as demand for services, particularly adult social care, continues to rise and we expect more cuts in central government funding.
“I’m hopeful that many of the organisations we’ve had discussions with so far will come forward with firm proposals which will allow us to consider transferring these sites to them for the future benefit of the Lancashire community.”
The county council has also agreed to continue emptying bins at countryside sites – back-tracking on signs put up saying it may scrap waste and dog bin collections at the green spaces across the county.
The formal bids process began on Tuesday 5 July and can be made through the county council website.
Do you use Beacon Fell? What do you think about the countryside service plan? Let us know in the comments below