Monday, 16 December 2013

 Now is the Winter of Our Discontent
A MK Council report, which proposes the transfer of the HESC Nature Reserve along with the new Stanton Low Country Park to the Parks Trust, is due to go before the MK Council Cabinet meeting this Wednesday (18th December).

Since the Parks Trust looks after much of MK’s green estate, this could be a good move. However there is no guarantee that it will continue to be used as a study centre for local schoolchildren. Nor that an unspent grant of £100,000 will ever be used for its original purpose; to fund improvements to the existing study centre.

As a result, the Hanson Environmental Centre may lose its position as one of the most interesting and diverse habitats for studying wildlife in Milton Keynes.
The Parks Trust have said they have not made any plans for the future of the Centre and Reserve, but since their education facilities will be based elsewhere, they say they would probably not continue the programme of school study visits to HESC.
Surprisingly, the Council report makes no mention of the Friends Group as stakeholders or even as an interested party.

As Chair of Friends of the Hanson Environmental Study Centre Chairman, I have written to the Council expressing the group’s concerns, and pressing for the Friends Group to continue to be involved in its running. I intend to raise these concerns at the Council Cabinet meeting this Wednesday, 18 December, when the subject is debated.

The hope is that should MK Council decide to proceed with the transfer, they will put in place sufficient caveats to ensure the continued success of the Nature Reserve and the Friends Group involvement in both its running and care.
Tony Bedford




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