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West Suffolk Council generated £55,000 per year from events in its six parks

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Data published for next week’s scrutiny committee found that West Suffolk Council generated an income of around £55,000 per year from events in its six parks.

But the annual cost of running those – including play facilities, trees and other infrastructure – was £2.4million.

That figure does however include around 200 other green spaces such as wildlife corridors and play areas.

Councillor Joanna Rayner.
Councillor Joanna Rayner.

A council spokesman said there were numerous health and social benefits of running the parks and they were considered an investment, not a profit making exercise, therefore it was not about recouping any shortfall.

Councillor Joanna Rayner, West Suffolk Council cabinet member for leisure, culture and community hubs said: “We recognise that our parks, play areas and green open spaces play an important role in the health and wellbeing of our local residents.

“They are places where people can go and be physically active through formal activities such as park runs and sports, where children can play and where people enjoy a nice walk and spend time together.

“As well as our physical health, activities such as a relaxing walk in the park are also really important for our mental health and wellbeing.

“They contribute to our ongoing work around the environment and climate change while we also work with local volunteers to protect both the local heritage and the biodiversity that our parks and open spaces contain.

“That is why we continue to invest in them. They are valued by our local residents and are one of the reasons that West Suffolk is recognised by many as a great place to live and work.”

According to the data, around 130 events were held last year, contributing to more than 42,000 visitors – a figure which doesn’t include the annual Bury Christmas Fayre.

Most of those are organised by others, not the council directly.

Among the highlights set for this year are the 2020 Abbey of St Edmunds millennium celebrations in the Abbey Gardens, Bury; Nowton Park’s Oktober Fest and Race for Life; and West Stow Country Park’s Dragon Fest and Ring Quest events.

The authority also runs East Town Park, Brandon Country Park and Aspal Close in Beck Row.