Campaigners livid over likely cutbacks at Wrexham park saved from decay

Reporter:

Geraint Jones

Campaigners have called on politicians to join their fight against proposed park cuts.

Friends of Acton Park members gathered to celebrate the park retaining its full Green Flag status – but they have serious concerns over Wrexham Council’s proposal to cut the number of park rangers in the county borough.

Group chairman Chris Cribbin, in a letter to councillors and Wrexham MP Ian Lucas on behalf of the group, told how the cuts would affect Acton Park.

She said: “For ourselves in Acton, this could lead to the disappearance of our park events, along with the valuable fundraising we generate.

“School visits will suffer, along with less habitat management and reduced park maintenance. 

“Overall, the park will revert to an untidy, unwelcoming and less safe place to visit and its beauty and history will be lost forever to our future generations.”

Mrs Cribbin added that the park does not have a full-time ranger but it does have a seasonal ranger over the summer, thanks to Acton Community Council.  

The Friends of Acton Park are also helped by the Alyn Waters ranger, who accompanies them on monthly gardening days, and provides support at fun days, children's events and dog shows.

The ranger also brings work placement volunteers every week to help tidy the park and provide manpower when the group needs it. 

Mrs Cribbin added: “Since the friends group was formed in 2008, our volunteers, along with members of the angling club, have transformed the park from an unkempt woodland, into a welcoming and safe place to visit, full of wonderful wildlife species, trees, shrubs and wildflower gardens.

“Through our fundraising – in excess of £12,000 – we have provided and installed picnic tables, additional seating, information boards, shrubs and wildflower gardens.

“We have also provided litter bins and sited over 40 nesting boxes around the park, which are regularly in use.

“We also created our own web site, which provides information of all our activities. 

She told councillors: “All this work has been done willingly by a small group of dedicated local volunteers, school children and residents.

“Last year all this hard work was rewarded with Acton Park gaining full Green Flag Status, an achievement we are all extremely proud of. 

“I'd like to extend the invitation to yourselves ask that you support our campaign by voting against the proposal to reduce the number of ranger posts across the 11 country park sites.”

Wrexham Council needs to save around £13m in the next two financial years due to a reduced local government settlement.

One of the many measures proposed in the Difficult Decisions consultation is to cut the number of rangers at the county borough’s 11 country parks, with the Streetscene service helping staff to clean the parks.

Volunteers groups at Bellevue, Nant Mill and Ty Mawr have also voiced their dismay at the proposals.

Wrexham Council has not said how many of the six rangers would be cut, but some campaigners have said that the number could be halved.

A Wrexham Council spokesman said:  “On October 24, the
executive board approved this year’s Difficult Decisions budget consultation.

 “The consultation includes proposals that might help the council save £13m over the next two years, and gives people the opportunity to have their say.

“The country parks review is one of the proposals included in the consultation.

“We’re encouraging anyone with
a view to put their opinion
forward by taking part in the consultation.

“We want to know what people think before we make any decisions.”

To contribute to the Difficult Decision consultation, visit www.wrexham.gov.uk/english/ consultation/budget/index.htm.

l More budget dismay with the potential axing of the schools music service.

See Page 7.

Email:

geraint.jones@nwn.co.uk

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