Jobs to go at Pugneys Country Park as Wakefield Council approves cost-cutting plan

Staff will lose their jobs an at Pugneys Country Park after cost-cutting proposals were voted through by Wakefield Council.

Eight jobs will go after the council decided to cut its funding for Pugneys by £230,000 a year.

The council, which is facing £185m in cuts to its budget by 2020, will also increase parking charges to help keep the park running.

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It currently costs 30p to park for up to one hour at Pugneys, 60p for up to two hours, £2 for up to four hours and £4 for more than four hours.

A report to today’s meeting said the new charges could be between 80p and £1 for up to one hour, £2.50 for up to four hours and £4 for more than four hours.

Wakefield Council’s cabinet voted to impose cost-cutting measures, then encourage businesses to invest in Pugneys to encourage more people to use the park.

Coun Les Shaw, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “The first phase is to bring the park back in order and save £230,000 of subsidy.

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“We do need to look at how we take Pugneys forward, that’s the real key, for future generations, not just this generation.”

Wakefield Council has been subsidising Pugneys at around £260,000 a year.

But the council must slash £23m from its budget this year and £38m next year to meet government spending cuts.

Coun Shaw added: “It’s not just about the cuts. We can’t keep subsidising any organisation at this level.”

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Under phase two of the council’s plan for Pugneys, the council will encourage investment in the park to turn it into a tourist destination.

Denise Jeffery, deputy council leader, told today’s meeting: “I would say that Pugneys is a jewel in the crown for Wakefield. I do think we could bring in some commercialism to move it forward.”