Statement on the future management of Whitlingham Country Park

The Trustees of the Whitlingham Charitable Trust have taken the decision to bring to an end the ongoing management of Whitlingham Country Park by the Broads Authority.

The current agreement, under which the Authority manages the site and operates a visitor centre, will end on 31 March 2020, following a successful partnership spanning 25 years.

Since 1995 the Broads Authority has worked with the Trust and other partners to manage and maintain the upkeep of the park including the grounds, woodlands, pathways, visitor information centre at the Flint Barn and associated catering and cleaning contract.

“We would like to thank the Broads Authority for their commitment and are extremely grateful for their hard work over the last 25 years,” said a spokesperson for Whitlingham Charitable Trust. “During this time the Trust has benefited from the considerable support of the Broads Authority through appointments to the Trust and the management and maintenance services delivered under the existing arrangement.”

“The Trustees have however decided that the next phase in the Country Park's development is to be led by the charity independently from the Broads Authority. A plan to transition to the new arrangements is under development with a start date of 1 April 2020.”

Bill Dickson, Chairman of the Broads Authority commented:

“We at the Broads Authority are sad that our 25 year partnership with the Colman family is coming to an end. We really wish the Trustees every success in building on what we have achieved together. I would like to emphasise that we will do everything we can to ensure a smooth transition.

“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. For many people it has been their first experience and a great introduction to the Broads National Park with an estimated 500,000 visits every year.

“We are proud of our track record of maintenance and improvements at Whitlingham Country Park. The Authority has provided a solid platform for the Trust to continue providing a valued, popular and much loved public space as defined by the planning agreement under which it was created.”

The Broads Authority is investigating the redeployment of staff affected by this decision to other areas of the Broads and is considering other locations to host visitor services, education and volunteer activities. Rangers currently working at Whitlingham will work with the wider team on other valuable habitat and waterway maintenance and improvement programmes.

Whitlingham Country Park is managed and maintained by the Whitlingham Charitable Trust. The Country Park began its life with a transfer of Trowse Wood and Meadows to the Trust in 1992 by the Colman Family, the owners of Crown Point Estate. Further transfers of land and the two broads occurred in the 1990s through to 2004 when the Park as it exists today was finally created.

Monday 14 October 2019