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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 04/10/2004
FARNHAM PARK RESTORATION MANAGEMENT PLAN



Summary & Purpose
To present the findings and recommendations arising from the Farnham Park Restoration Management Plan. To seek Member approval for the adoption of the Farnham Park Restoration Management Plan as a policy framework for the future management of the Park.

Quality of Life Implications
Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe Communities
Local Economy
Natural
Resource Use
Pollution
Prevention and Control
Biodiversity
and Nature
Local
Environment
Social
Inclusion
Safe, Healthy
and Active
Communities
Local
Economy
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive
N/A


APPENDIX F
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE – 4TH OCTOBER 2004
_________________________________________________________________________
Title:
FARNHAM PARK RESTORATION MANAGEMENT PLAN
[Wards Affected: Farnham Castle and Farnham Upper Hale]
_________________________________________________________________________
Summary and purpose:
To present the findings and recommendations arising from the Farnham Park Restoration Management Plan. To seek Member approval for the adoption of the Farnham Park Restoration Management Plan as a policy framework for the future management of the Park.

_________________________________________________________________________
Quality of life implications – social, environmental & economic (sustainable development):

Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe, Healthy and Active Communities
Local Economy
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive
N/A

The Farnham Park Restoration Management Plan seeks to ensure the future management of Farnham's premier open space. The plan will help protect and develop the Park's historic landscape, archaeology, biodiversity and recreational and educational facilities. It will benefit local people through the continued provision of a safe environment, sporting facilities and opportunities for local recreation.

E-Government implications:

The report, if adopted, will be made available on the Council's website.

Resource and legal implications:

The recommendations of the report do have resource implications if the infrastructure improvements and on-going annual maintenance required to deliver the Restoration Management Plan are agreed and implemented in full. However, it is intended that funding for the delivery of the plan will be subject to bids to external partners, such as the Heritage Lottery Fund, Environmental Stewardship, Aggregate Levy, Landfill Tax credit schemes and Farnham Town Council, as well as bids for funding through the Council’s own capital and revenue process. The Council’s current expenditure in Farnham Park would be used to lever matching funding from these other sources.

A detailed cost breakdown of the management plan proposals is at Annexe 1. In summary these are:-

ItemEstimated Cost
Infrastructure improvements and Park Lodge conversion (over 5 years)856,776
Ecological enhancements 16,830
Interpretation opportunities 12,000
Staffing (full time ranger for 5 yrs) and Production of Management Plan 146,550
Annual revenue costs (if all capital works & action plan implemented) 119,733

The Council has responsibilities for Farnham Park under a number of pieces of legislation and the management plan will assist in their delivery.
_________________________________________________________________________

Introduction

1, Farnham Park is one of the largest open spaces owned and managed by the Council. Originally a medieval deer park, it was once part of the estate of the Bishop of Winchester who resided in the adjacent Farnham Castle. It is designated a Grade ll site in English Heritage's Register of Park and Gardens of Special Historical Interest and is an Area of Historic Landscape Value in the Local Plan. The park is a Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI) and is a proposed Local Nature Reserve (LNR). Farnham Park has many features of historic interest and recent archaeological surveys have revealed important evidence of a minor but locally important civil war battle. As a result, English Heritage is considering including Farnham Park in the National Battlefields Register.

2. In 1999, the Council submitted an application for grant funding under the historic parks section of Defra’s Countryside Stewardship Scheme. As a requirement of the Scheme the Council had to produce a Landscape Restoration Management plan. In order to produce this piece of work, funding was secured through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Process of Formulating the Plan

3. In 2001, Land Use Consultants were commissioned to produce a Historic Landscape Survey and Restoration Management Plan to support an application for future funding under the HLF Park's Programme and Countryside Stewardship Scheme.

4. The main objectives were to:

Public Consultation

5. Public consultation was seen as a vital component of the production of the historic restoration plan. After initial discussions with Council officers, the consultants spoke to the Farnham Park Group, which is a group of members representing local interest groups, local residents and users of the Park. This consultation led to the formation of some key priorities, which were progressed into two possible future options for wider public consultation. In May and June 2001, exhibitions on the proposals were held in Farnham Library and Farnham Locality Office. The options proposed two possible visions for the management of the park:

6. Both options included improved educational facilities through self-guided trails, an educational centre and interpretation boards.

7. A questionnaire was designed and copies were available at the exhibition to encourage feedback. Approximately 400 responses were returned and analysed. The key findings were:

80% of respondents lived within 10 minutes of the Park and visited the Park for dog walking, observing wildlife and informal recreation;
Three quarters of those who replied did not want to see the re-creation of a deer park;
The park is valued for its present character and variety of natural habitats.
51% of respondents favoured option 1 and only 5% option 2. 8. In July 2001, a meeting was held in the Farnham Maltings and all respondents were formally invited. The outcome of the meeting concluded that the deer park option should be discounted and that the Restoration Plan should concentrate on the Park’s historic landscape importance, value as an area of countryside for local people, recreational opportunities, biodiversity and increasing the level of management. This was developed into a final report produced in January 2004. Key Strengths and Weakness of the Park

9. The Restoration Plan outlined several key strengths of the Park and its management, which include:

The intact medieval structure of the Park and its position in relation to its medieval palace makes the site unique;
The archaeological importance in relation to English Civil War activities;
Nature conservation interest, particularly the veteran trees and population of Great Crested newts, a protected species;
Importance as a recreational open space for the large adjacent populations;
Important landscape features such the Avenue and views from the Park over the surrounding area;
Commitment of the Friends of Farnham Park.


10. Key weaknesses were identified as follows:

The links between the castle and park have been lost;
The Park lacks an overall identity;
The Park entrances lack a co-ordination of style;
The car park is poorly laid out and the main entrance does not do the Park justice;
Lack of grassland management in some areas leading to encroachment by weed species and scrub. Restoration Action Plan

11. A Restoration Master Plan and Action Plan were produced (Annexe 2). Estimated costs of implementing the action plan are detailed at Annexe 1. As previously stated, the cost and speed of implementing the recommendations set out in the plan will be dependent upon securing the required funding through a variety of sources.

Conclusion

12. The Government, through the Commission for Architecture & the Built Environment (CABE), has recently published research which clearly articulates the importance of quality green spaces. Farnham Park is one of the Council’s most historic and environmentally important parks and therefore requires proactive management to protect it for future years. The restoration plan clearly articulates how this can be best achieved. In adopting the recommendations set out in the Restoration Management Plan, the Council will be signing up to a framework and policy for the future management of the park.

Recommendation

The Executive is recommended to adopt the Farnham Park Restoration Management plan as its policy framework for the future management of Farnham Park.


________________________________________________________________________
Background Papers (DoE&L)

Copies of the full Farnham Park Restoration Plan will be available to members in the Members Room.

________________________________________________________________________

CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Julie Maskery Telephone: 01483 523432
E-mail: jmaskery@waverley.gov.uk

Jane Bowden Telephone: 01483 523443
E-mail: jbowden@waverley.gov.uk

Comms/Executive/2004-05/199
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