CLOSE to £450,000 is to be invested in visitor facilities at three Staffordshire Country Parks.
Cannock Chase, Chasewater and Greenway Bank will all benefit after owners Staffordshire County Council coordinated funding from the EU’s European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and committed money raised from car parking fees at country parks.
Lichfield District Council is also contributing towards improvements at Chasewater Country Park.
Improvements include new and improved children’s play areas at two of the three sites, new trails, path improvements, visitor centre enhancements and new on-site interpretation.
Victoria Wilson, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Communities and Culture, said:
“People will see a real difference at their country parks and I’m delighted Lichfield and Staffordshire Councils have worked together successfully to attract EU funding to improve facilities there.
“We’ve talked to users about the shape and form of new play areas being installed at Cannock Chase and Chasewater and I think families will be very pleased with the results.”
The main investment will be in the two new play areas at Cannock Chase and Chasewater – and that forms a large part of the £355,000 EU funding through the Rural Development Programme for England.
Those two country parks will also have new interpretation panels, multi-media displays inside Marquis Drive Visitor Centre and Chasewater Innovation Centre and a new walking route between the two.
Chasewater will also have an open-sided, roofed shelter and all three sites will have new welcome and site-map panels.
At Greenway Bank, money will be spent developing a trail around the country park, with outdoor interpretation panels and audio units relating to the heritage sites along the way.
Victoria Wilson added:
“We’ve already researched the fascinating history and archaeology at Greenway Bank, which has a strong focus on the industrial heritage of the site over past centuries.
“And there’ll be a route guide and map produced for this trail too so that people can better understand and enjoy the landscape around them and visualise how it was at different times in history.”
Lichfield District Council’s input of £44,000 from contributions by housebuilders to offset the effects of more people using community facilities will contribute to the all-weather shelter and play area at Chasewater.
It will also support the installation of an outdoor gym, footpath and watercourse improvements and tree planting, as well as shrub planting and other improvements around the old boating pool.
Councillor Iain Eadie, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member Visitor Economy & Local Plan, said:
“I am sure Burntwood residents and the many visitors to Chasewater Country Park will be thrilled to hear the news about the new play area and community facilities.
“We are all looking forward to seeing the works get underway and know the improvements will encourage even more people to visit.”