Calne park expansion hope as Lord Lansdowne offers part of Bowood Estate

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Lord Lansdowne has offered to rent two acres of Bowood Estate so the town park at Castlefields can be expanded Lord Lansdowne has offered to rent two acres of Bowood Estate so the town park at Castlefields can be expanded

Lord Lansdowne has offered to rent two acres of his Bowood Estate to Calne Town Council in order to extend the town park at Castlefields.

The idea was discussed by town councillors on November 25 and they have delegated responsibility for the negotiations to town clerk Linda Roberts.

It would be available at a peppercorn rent, possibly on a 25-year term, the very small payment being to satisfy the requirements for a legal contract.

It was originally suggested that Bowood’s legal fees in the preparation of the lease would be borne by the council, but councillors have rejected this idea.

They would also like the part of the riverside brought up to safe standards before renting as the town council would be responsible for the site’s maintenance.

The idea was also discussed with the Castlefields Canal and River Park Association (CARP), the organisation responsible for driving the original restoration of the park.

Town councillor Paul Venton said: “CARP did discuss this. They discussed the fact that they would not be interested in taking it up unless it was a significant amount.

“One of the things that CARP were clear about is that that if they didn’t take it on they would like the town council to take it on after Bowood had made the banks by the river safe.”

Town clerk Linda Roberts said the extra maintenance would cost around £1,000 a year and would not be too onerous for the council’s current groundsmen.

Mrs Roberts, who met with Lord Lansdowne on November 26, said: “The negotiations regarding the parcel of land at the edge of Castlefields Park are in progression.

“Lord Lansdowne’s aspiration for Castlefields is for it to grow as a town park for the enjoyment of the Calne community and he hopes that more parcels of land can be leased to the town council on that basis.

“The meeting with Lord Lansdowne was positive, we discussed various issues. I will be writing to confirm the terms under which the town council would be happy to take on the land and maintain it.”

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