Council defends handing park to new company

Jubilee Park in Woodhall Spa
Jubilee Park in Woodhall Spa

Woodhall Spa Parish Council chairman David Clarke has attempted to head off a residents’ rebellion and insisted the new Jubilee Park deal is the best for all parties concerned.

The council is on the verge of signing a long-term lease agreement to hand over control of the complex to a charitable community based company.

The deal, when signed, will end months of speculation - and public spats - about the future of the park, which is one of the region’s premier leisure attractions.

However, Spa resident and former parish councillor Daphne Robinson is not happy with the agreement.

She is demanding the council calls a public meeting to allow residents to debate the full implications of the handover.

Mrs Robinson is insisting the entire Jubilee Park complex is a community asset and has accused the council of not been ‘honest and up front.’

She alleges a key part of the new company’s business plan is a fitness suite which will cost around half-a-million pounds.

Mrs Robinson fears that if the new company fails, council tax payers in Woodhall Spa could be left with paying any debts.

She claims the suite will have a negative impact on the rest of the park’s facilities, notably a popular caravan site.

Mrs Robinson says that, in turn, will lead to less visitors and holidaymakers - and a considerable drop in revenue for the local economy, which is heavily reliant on tourism.

Although Mrs Robinson lives adjacent to the complex, she denies that is her primary reason to rejecting to the takeover deal.

She told the News: “Jubilee Park was left to the people of Woodhall Spa. It is a community facility. But what chance have residents had to discuss this deal - or exactly what is involved?

“Most people I speak to haven’t got a clue what is going on. The first they will know is when bigger council tax bills drop through their letter box - because the new company has failed.”

Mrs Robinson has called a public meeting which will be held at The Inn on Thursday at 11am.

Provided six residents agree, they can call on the parish council to call a full parish meeting.

However, Coun Clarke hit back at Mrs Robinson and claimed the terms of the lease - which have still to be finalised - did protect the interests of residents.

He said: “There will be a clause which will clearly states that we (the council) will have to approve any planning application, before it goes before ELDC.

“Also, there will be no financial liability to council tax payers, if the new company fails.

“We have been open, honest and up front throughout this entire process.

“I accept we don’t know the full extent of the new company’s plans, but that is because the terms have yet to be signed,

“However, I can assure you this is the best deal for everyone concerned. It safeguards the future of the park.

“If, at the end of the day, Mrs Robinson - or any other residents aren’t happy - then they then can apply to become members of the new company and even put themselves forward as directors.”

The News can reveal the five interim directors of the new company are Emma Brealy, Tim Peacock, Julie Pole and Keith and Justin Scarborough.