Pugneys Country Park... a scapegoat or not ?

Pugneys Country Park, Wakefield.'w319a443
Pugneys Country Park, Wakefield.'w319a443

A Friends group has accused Wakefield Council of making Pugneys Country Park a “scapegoat” as part of its severe cost-cutting measures.

The cash-strapped council, which must cut £185m from its budgets by 2020, has been spending £260,000 each year to keep the park running but says it now needs to be self-sustaining.

Under a two-phase proposal for Pugneys the council would triple car parking charges, change the opening hours and cut eight jobs to save £230,000.

The second phase would be to commercialise the park to encourage businesses and community groups to invest and develop the site.

Action group Friends of Pugneys Country Park said it feared the park is going to become unaffordable, particularly for its regular visitors.

Chairwoman Wendy Marsh said: “ We do not want to see car parking charges go up massively.

“We feel a small increase would be inevitable but we do not want to see it being turned into a theme park or a major attraction.

“This is not really what our park is about and it is not large enough to add too many attractions.

“Because of its popularity, we feel Pugneys is being made the scapegoat to save money for the council.”

The proposals will be discussed at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday November 11.

Lisa Dodd-Mayne, Wakefield Council’s service director for culture and sport, said:”We appreciate where the Friends are coming from, but Pugneys is not being made a scapegoat.

“We are looking at all options to guarantee its future because we recognise how important it is to the people of this district and beyond.”