LETTER: Rows are behind us - Jubilee Park is moving forward

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In the past two or three years your newspaper has published a succession of correspondence relating to Woodhall Spa’s Jubilee Park, often of a belligerent and confrontational nature.

It is apparent that the general public are bewildered and disbelieving of the disharmony that has occurred amongst persons with ostensibly the same objective – to ensure a sustainable future for the park.

However, the disagreements have been set aside and the course set for the management of the park to be undertaken by a newly formed Charitable Community Company.

There is now a need to restore and strengthen the confidence of the community in the Friends of Jubilee Park (FOJP) and bolster support for the new company, to be known as Jubilee Park Woodhall Spa (JWPS).

For which purpose, a brief review of the recent history of the development of the park is considered appropriate to demonstrate the past commitment and achievement of FOJP members and emphasize the sound basis on which future development is being planned.

Friends of Jubilee Park was formed in October 2005 by members of the local community, all long term residents, when it became known that the East Lindsey District Council (ELDC) was proposing to close the swimming pool and the caravan site as it was losing too much money. ELDC had employed a consultancy company to report on the Park finances and to make recommendations on how to make it financially viable.

The high investment costs proposed by this company were unacceptable and FOJP members embarked on a comprehensive study of all avenues that might facilitate the long term sustainability of the Park as a public entity.

This period of study coincided with the implementation by ELDC of government policies to decentralise and encourage local communities to take more control of their own resources and services as a way of reducing government subsidies and expenditure.

It was apparent at this stage that the maintenance of facilities in Jubilee Park had

been seriously neglected by ELDC over many years: the swimming pool was in a

poor state of repair and the cafe was falling down.

ELDC began investigations to determine what needed to be done prior to any handover to the local community.

Discussions commenced between ELDC, the Parish Council and FOJP on the future

requirements for the sustainable development of the Park.

The initial priorities were the refurbishment of the swimming pool, the demolition of the cafe and the funding of the running costs of the Park for the period for a new economically viable managing agency to become established.

A public meeting was held to explain to the community ELDC intentions with regard to their commitment to these priorities.

A committee was then formed from FOJP members in 2010, with the full approval of the Parish council, designated the Jubilee Park Management Committee (JPMC), with the objectives of providing assistance with the implementation of ELDC support measures and the negotiation and supervision of the transition of Park management to local community control

Initially, FOJP members were involved in research into Lido pool refurbishment and operation at the behest of Mark Humphreys, the Director of Leisure at ELDC.

Under the umbrella of JPMC, FOJP members provided essential support to the Parish Council. Cafe demolition was organised by an FOJP member at a much reduced cost to ELDC. The caravan site, which was found to be sub-standard and did not meet the licensing requirements, was upgraded mainly through the efforts of JPMC members.

The contract formulation and supervision of construction of the swimming pool refurbishment was largely done by FOJP members. Drainage improvements were made in the north of the Park through the drive and determination of an FOJP member.

With no good reason, JPMC was abolished by the PC in July 2012. Nevertheless, despite the injustice of that decision, FOJP members continued to work in the interests of the Park.

Two outstanding achievements of FOJP members since abolition of JPMC are the upgrading of the play area in the Park and the replanting of the rose gardens.

The Friends of Jubilee Park, which represents the views of the community who have demonstrated a long term interest in the Park, is fully supportive of the JPWS.

The committee would like to invite those in the community who recognise the importanceof Jubilee Park to the village to join FOJP and to contribute to the long term survival of this high quality facility.

It is important that the community is better informed of the issues (which can only be achieved with increased membership) so that more people can join in sensible debate and decision making.

Barry Chapman & Robin Goodyear

The Friends of Jubilee Park