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Stone residents 'would help to buy' Westbridge Park

By Stone Edition  |  Posted: May 23, 2014

By Kerry Ashdown

Westbridge Park

Westbridge Park

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STONE residents would chip in to buy the town's Westbridge Park if it came up for sale, a councillor has claimed.

The park is set to be named one of Stafford Borough's "assets of community value", alongside village pubs and Gnosall's swimming pool. The protection would give Stone Town Council the opportunity to bid for the park, if it was put up for sale, and six months to get the cash together before it was put on the open market.

Proposals to sell part of Westbridge Park to a retail developer, announced by owners Stafford Borough Council in 2012, sparked fury from residents. The borough council planned to use the proceeds to fund a new leisure centre, but the proposals were put on ice last year following the public opposition.

Stone Town Council agreed to register the park as an asset of community value at their meeting on Thursday.

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Councillor Jill Hood said: "The whole of Stone would give money to pay for Westbridge Park."The town council would be at the front of the queue to buy Westbridge Park."

Councillor Rob Kenney added: "If we don't put Westbridge Park forward we are telling the town we don't consider it to be an asset.

But Councillor Tom Jackson said: "It is kind of a sweeping statement when you say the whole of Stone would consider it an asset and would pay to keep it."

The town council also agreed to register the Northesk Street car park as a community asset.

The land, next to the Radford Street police station, is owned by Staffordshire Police but managed by Stone Town Council, which offers it as a free public car park. The council is concerned it will lose the land once police have secured an alternative base and sold the Radford Street site.

In 2009 Stone Town Council raised £100,000 through a 51 per cent council tax hike – an increase of £17 per Band D household – in a bid to buy the town's Crown Wharf site and save it from development. But the plans failed to come to fruition and the cash remains in council coffers.

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  • RobertGJ  |  May 24 2014, 11:03AM

    I believe Westbridge Park's ownership was transferred from Stone Town Council to Stafford Borough Council. Does anyone know the date and who gave the mandate? Was this fully discussed by the Town Council? Surely it would be strange to pay a lot of money to Stafford Borough Council if it was given to them in the first place. How about a selling price of a penny?

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