No plans for entrance fees or restricted opening times at country park, trustees say

Visitors to Whitlingham Country Park have been assured its trustees are not planning to bring in ent

Visitors to Whitlingham Country Park have been assured its trustees are not planning to bring in entrance fees. Picture: Christopher Keeley - Credit: Christopher Keeley

Visitors to Whitlingham Country Park have been told there are 'no significant plans' to bring in entrance fees or restricted opening times at the site following changes to its management arrangements.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that a 27-year partnership between the Whitlingham Charitable Trust and the Broads Authority would be coming to an end early next year.

The change will see the trust taking over full management of the park, with trustees saying it will open opportunities for more accessibility and a greater range of activities at the facility.

However, there have been calls for greater reassurance over how the change in management will impact the people and clubs who make use of the site, which first opened to the public more than 20 years ago.

And while the trustees have remained tight-lipped over just what their plans for the park are, they have assured visitors there are not currently planning on changing parking arrangements or bringing in entrance fees and restricted opening times.

A spokesman for Whitlingham Charity Trust said: "We are currently finalising the plans for Whitlingham Country Park and hope to be able to unveil them in the coming months.

"We would, however, like to reassure all the users that there are no significant plans to rethink any parking arrangements and opening times, or for our visitors to be charged to enter the site.

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"We want any changes we undertake to make the site more accessible and enhance the current offering."

Currently, the visitors' centre at the site is run by the Broads Authority, while the BA also provides rangers for the park. However, this arrangement is set to come to an end in March 2020.

After this date, preservation of the site and its facilities will be carried out solely by the charitable trust, which was formed when the site was created by the Crown Point Estate.

Earlier this week, Bill Dickson, chairman of the Broads Authority, said: "We regard Whitlingham Country Park as a hugely important public resource which offers people from Norwich, Norfolk and beyond a valuable open space for recreation and learning.

"We are proud of our track record at Whitlingham and have provided a solid platform for the trust to continue providing a valued, popular and much-loved public space."