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Harpenden Town Council to take over Rothamsted Park in January 2021

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The ownership of Rothamsted Park is scheduled to be transferred to Harpenden Town Council (HTC) in January next year.

St Albans City and District Council (SADC) has agreed in principle the detailed terms and conditions after several months of negotiations with HTC.

Among the major issues that have been settled is the future of the Harpenden Town Football Club site. HTC has agreed to honour existing commitments made to the club.

SADC will survey all the park’s trees and carry out any essential work before the handover.

They will also provide HTC with up to £100,000 towards the demolition of the ageing Orchard Pavilion.

There is no purchase price and any savings made by SADC in future years will be passed on to Harpenden residents through their Council Tax bills.

If all goes to schedule, legal documents should be finalised by the end of next month with the transfer taking place in January.

An update on the deal’s progress was given to a meeting of SADC’s Cabinet on Thursday 22 October.

SADC has a longstanding policy of allowing the transfer of community assets to parish and town councils so that decisions can be made at a neighbourhood level.

Agreement has also been reached with HTC to transfer Wood End, Oakley Road, Parva Close and Roundwood Lane open spaces to them.

Councillor Chris White, SADC Leader and Portfolio Holder for Climate, Environment and Transport, said:

Devolving the ownership and management of green spaces and other assets has a number of advantages. The main one is that it allows for decisions to be taken by people at the grass roots with a real feel for their local area.

Rothamsted Park is one of the biggest assets that we have agreed to devolve to a parish or town council and there were a lot of complex legal and financial issues involved with the transfer.

These have taken time to resolve, but I’m pleased that we have now reached agreement in principle on all the remaining matters.

I am sure that from January onwards, Harpenden Town Council will do a fine job in looking after and improving this fantastic park in the years ahead.

Councillor contact:
Councillor Chris White, Leader and Portfolio Holder for Climate, Environment and Transport, Email:
Tel: 01727 845300.

Contact for the media: John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer: 01727-819533;