POLICY STATEMENT - FRIENDS OF ELVASTON;
A CHANGE FOR ELVASTON
Sadly, Elvaston Castle and Country Park have become run down over recent years and Derbyshire County Council has announced that the authority can no longer finance the annual maintenance costs of the Country Park or the restoration costs of the Grade 2* listed House (plus Grade 2* registered landscape ) and are seeking solutions to the problems posed to local authorities in looking after costly heritage assets whilst managing ever shrinking budgets.
The Friends of Elvaston supports the creation of a community social enterprise, under the terms of the Localism Bill and Big Society principles, whereby commercial ideas are embraced within a charitable framework and then implemented to provide financial solutions to the enterprise, with all profits being returned to the project. This is an adventurous and exciting opportunity for the entire community to contribute to the renaissance of Elvaston Castle Country Park, including every stakeholder and we believe that input from all parties will be an essential part of this new way forward.
We must caution against over simplification of what is needed to provide positive regeneration of the Estate, much assessment has to be carried out by professionals and nothing must be left to chance or entered into without diligence and forethought, failure is not an option and everyone who becomes a part of the social enterprise, in whatever capacity, has to accept that the entire project must be ring fenced against failure, it would be completely unacceptable for Derbyshire County Council to face the prospect of being left with any further projects which do not guarantee a successful outcome.
The social enterprise will ensure the protection of the Park and its assets for the benefit of recreation, good health and social inclusion, the reasons why the Elvaston Estate was originally purchased for the people under the 1968 Countryside Act.
Restoring the House and grade 2 listed Gardens, which are not only of national but also of European importance will elevate both Derby City and the Countys profile nationally, increasing tourism and creating opportunities for employment.
We have asked Social Enterprise East Midlands (SEEM) to look at Elvaston Castle Country Park to examine the ways in which a social enterprise can bring about long term solutions which are both beneficial to the community and also safeguard the position of the owner of the Estate, Derbyshire County Council. Under the guidance of its very capable and experienced Chief Executive, Mr Roger Moors, this is now ongoing.
Already a number of organisations have shown an interest in becoming part of a social enterprise solution for the Estate and we would like to hear from any individuals, corporations, or organisations, which might be interested in taking part in this ground breaking, exciting and radically fresh approach and help us to welcome in a new era at Elvaston Castle Country Park.
If you, or your organisation, agree with the Friends of Elvaston that this should be the way forward for the future of the Elvaston Castle and Country Park, please support the Friends campaign to save the Estate (the rich history of which stretches back until at least the Domesday Book) via a community social enterprise guided by Social Enterprise East Midlands.
Please email, or write to us (contact details below), pledging your support, whether it is moral, physical, or financial. Now is the time to give us your full support. A combined community effort will help to ensure that we all retain and preserve the Elvaston Castle Estate as permanent public open space. (November 2012).
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