Tony Hutchings writes:
Along with other volunteers from the Friends I regularly man the Lodge where we sell second hand books, generously donated by various members of the public. We also act as an information area for the House and Park. It is also a good place to advertise the work of the Friends and to explain how and why we have raised around £250000 over the years. This has been spent on many and varied projects around the park, aimed at enhancing the grounds and making the work of the dwindling members of staff easier. Members of the public are amazed when I explain that although owned by Plymouth City Council and Cornwall Council, their financial input is a dwindling resource and that by 2020 the expectation is that there will be no financial input at all. How can this be? The country park, one of the biggest in the country, costs around £760000 per annum to manage. Each of the two authorities currently inputs £120000. It is up to the Park Manager and his team to raise as much as they can to meet the shortfall. Regular visitors to the park will know that The Stables area now has several retail outlets, privately owned and rented from the Park management. At the Cremyll entrance, hidden behind “Aunt Em’s”, is a holiday let. The Park Manager is hoping to be able to raise enough money to do up a few more buildings so as to be able to rent out more of these. Around £8000 per property per annum are realistic incomes from these ventures. Over the last few years there has been an increase in weddings being held in the House and much use is made of the splendid Marquee, donated by the Friends.
My questions are: What will happen to the Country Park should all funding cease from the two authorities in 2020? Do we, the public, want to see the park close? Indeed can it legally be closed? Can the two authorities just turn their financial backs on the 850 or so acres? What happens to the coastal path which runs through the park? Will Mt Edgcumbe House be left to rot? Do you, the readers of this, care what happens to the house and park? I am anxious that our profile is raised and these questions I have posed along with I am sure many more be addressed now rather than in the four short years that would appear to be crucial in the future of the wonderful resource that is on our doorsteps.
The executive committee is anxious to encourage feedback from the many who feel strongly about the future of the House and Country Park. Please contact me or any member of the committee by clicking ‘Contact us’ on the top line of this website.