Park set to receive a £500,000 boost – and will buy more animals

A young visitor enjoys an encounter with a goat at Staunton Country Park
A young visitor enjoys an encounter with a goat at Staunton Country Park
Picture: Hampshire police

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A HAVANT country park is set for a £500,000 boost in a bid to attract more visitors.

Funding for Staunton Country Park has been provisionally agreed, with the final decision to be made in July. 

The cash would be awarded as part of a £16m county-wide investment from Hampshire County Council known as the Country Parks Transformation Programme.  

Councillor Andrew Gibson, the culture boss, was pleased the funding was closer to its final approval. He said: ‘Staunton Park is such a wonderful place with all the community work it does. It’s an amazing hub for a deprived area.

‘We are really happy that we are nearer to re-developing the park. More than anything it’s an investment for the community. The whole country parks project has been massively well received.’

The figure comes after the original allocation of £150,000 to transform the park’s farm was deemed insufficient. If approved the money will go towards glasshouse repairs, toilets, the restaurant and welcome area and buying more animals for the farm.

The Heritage Lottery Fund had previously awarded £2.85m to the park to cover costs for a new car park and visitors centre.

A council spokesperson explained why the additional funding was needed. They said: ‘The current programme of investment in our country parks is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve visitor facilities – making more of their natural and historical features, and helping them become financially self-sustaining.

‘In its first phase, this programme was highly successful at attracting external funding, which increased the total budget by £3.2m. This has allowed a significant increase in the scope of the overall programme, including conserving and enhancing the historic landscape features of the parkland at Staunton Country Park.

‘Building on previous investment at Staunton, we are now considering allocating a further £500,000 to make a range of additional improvements, including catering, refurbished toilets, improved signage and interpretation to help visitors navigate the site, as well as work to the glasshouses to regulate the temperature and humidity.

‘We anticipate the enhancements to the glasshouses could enable them to become an exciting feature to attract new visitors and encourage people to visit and stay longer.’

Other parks that have benefited from the Country Parks Transformation Programme include Lepe Country Park, Queen Victoria Country Park and the Royal Victoria Country Park.
The final decision on the cash will be made in July.