Open Letter Regarding Animal Park

OPEN LETTER TO COUNCIL LEADER, DENISE HYLAND,
FROM THE FRIENDS OF MARYON AND MARYON WILSON PARKS

23rd February 2015

Dear Ms Hyland,

We are writing to ask that you reconsider the relationship between the council and the Animal Park in Maryon Wilson Park, Charlton.

Our local community was shocked when the previous council administration suddenly announced in 2010 that the Animal Park would be closed down. The Friends group was heavily involved with the creation of a 7500 signature petition calling on the council to keep running the Animal Park and to keep it under council care. We understand this was one of the largest petitions ever presented to the council. The depth of support for the Animal Park led to the council setting up the charity MWAP Ltd. which was intended to raise money and take over the running of the Animal Park. Despite much hard work, it’s fair to say that MWAP Ltd are still some considerable way from raising the £100K per year called for in the business plan.

We would like to suggest an alternative way forward.

For the Friends group, the best solution is for the council to own and run the Animal Park, and for the charity, MWAP Ltd., to act as fund-raisers to help pay for the animal feed and improve the animals’ living conditions and care. If the charity becomes successful then they could also help pay for the council staff but not line manage them.

The charity could concentrate on running events and developing an animal education service for schools and young people. The Parks and Open Spaces staff can then continue to run the Animal Park on a day to day basis, maintaining the established high standards of Health and Safety needed for managing the combination of animals and child visitors.

Such an arrangement would also avoid any unwelcome issues with leasing the land and losing significant sections of a public park from the public domain.

The suggestion above seems to us to be something that respects everybody and is a much more sensible, realistic, and sustainable financial arrangement than the current plans.

It would be fantastic for the new council administration to agree a new solution that secures the Animal Park’s long term future.

We ask that you take the Animal Park back into the council’s long term care whilst continuing to work with the dedicated people at MWAP Ltd. to improve the park’s animal welfare and educational facilities.

Thank you.

Yours Faithfully,

On behalf of the Committee of the Friends of Maryon and Maryon Wilson Parks:

Steve Tongue – Acting Chair/Secretary
Andrew Donkin – Vice Chair
Gulle Stubbs – Treasurer
Paul Breen
Jason Emmett
Christine Anthony
John Greig-Midlane
Catherine Tongue

Open Letter, copied to:

John Fahy – Deputy Leader
Jackie Smith – Member for Community Safety & Environment
Gary Parker – Charlton Ward Councillor
Miranda Williams – Charlton Ward Councillor
Allan MacCarthy – Charlton Ward Councillor
Dawn Squires – Head of Parks and Open Spaces

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