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Last Updated: Monday, 19 February 2007, 13:57 GMT
Residents reject privatised parks
Irchester Country Park
Residents are concerned about the commercialisation of parks
A review of country parks in Northamptonshire has found most people are in favour of them being run by public or voluntary sector groups.

Northants County Council carried out the study to provide better facilities and make the parks self-financing.

The consultation took place in December at the same time as the council's bid to find an external partner to take over the management of the services.

It found that private sector management was the least popular option.

Sites included in consultation
Barnwell Country Park, Fermyn Woods Country Park, Irchester Country Park, Sywell Country Park
The Mackintosh Residential Centre (at Brixworth Country Park), Brampton Valley Way Linear Park
Brixworth Country Park, Summer Leys Local Nature Reserve, Barnes Meadow Local Nature Reserve, Abington Meadows, Nine Arches Moorings, Earls Barton Bends Picnic Site

Councillor Ben Smith, cabinet member for environment, said: "The results reflect the feelings of the people who use and value the services, and it's clear that there is huge regard for the country parks and their ethos.

"We will be taking the results on board and they will help when it comes to evaluating bids received through the tender process."

Most people felt a government organisation, or a not-for-profit trust were the most suitable organisations to manage parks and open spaces.

There was little support for the involvement of the private sector, as people had concerns about commercialisation ruining attractive and peaceful green spaces.

The consultation involved 1,391 people.

The council is now about to embark on a formal tender process to seek offers for the provision of the parks and open spaces.

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