Animal Park Stays In Council Hands
The Friends of the Maryon Parks are delighted that at a cabinet meeting on June 22nd, Greenwich Council agreed to adopt the plan we proposed in our open letter of February 2015, namely that the Council retain full control of Maryon Wilson Animal Park, securing the future of the animals there and ensuring that it stays in the public domain.
As our timeline shows, the previous Council administration decided in 2010 to remove funding for the animals as a money-saving cut. There was a widespread protest by local residents and a petition to save the Animal Park reached a whopping 7,500 signatures – the largest ever presented to Greenwich Council.
As a result, the Council set up a trust and subsequently a charity, MWAP Ltd, to raise money and take over the running and funding of the Animal Park. Times were tough, however, and raising the £80-100K per year needed proved too much. The original plan involved the land containing the animal pens being leased to MWAP Ltd, but before any lease was signed, the new Council administration began to express misgivings about the arrangement.
In August 2015, a meeting between the council and MWAP Ltd agreed that the charity should be dissolved and the Animal Park formally be taken back under Council control and funding (although in reality it had never left the Council’s balance sheet).
The Friends of Maryon and Maryon Wilson Parks, now almost 15 years old, are delighted with the outcome for which we have campaigned since the original decision of 2010 and we would like to thank all the members, residents and supporters who fought for the animals to stay and the land to remain in the public domain. Particular thanks on the Council side to Denise Hyland, Jackie Smith, and Dawn Squires.
While fully aware of the financial constraints the Council faces, we will continue to work with Greenwich Council and to press for improved facilities in our beautiful local parks.
A full timeline of events can be read here