Changes proposed at Pugneys as council reduces subsidy

Date: 04/11/2014

Permission will be sought in the next two weeks for changes to the way that Pugneys Country Park is run as the Council attempts to save £230,000.

Permission will be sought in the next two weeks for changes to the way that Pugneys Country Park is run as Wakefield Council attempts to save £230,000.

On November 11 the Council's Cabinet will be asked to agree that changes to parking charges, opening hours and the services on offer are made in order to balance the books for the running of the facility.

Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, Cllr Les Shaw, said: "We subsidise Pugneys to the tune of £260,000 each year and in the current financial climate we can't afford for this to continue.

"If we can get it to the stage where it is breaking even we may not have to look at commercialising it further in the medium term.

"The plans going to Cabinet next week propose a two-stage approach to getting Pugneys financially fit, while creating opportunities for us to do more with the site."

The paper to the Council's Cabinet suggests some changes are made which include:

  • Stopping providing water sports between November and March as only 20% of the demand is during these months
  • Slightly reducing opening hours in the summer, opening earlier at weekends, but later during the week and closing earlier on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
  • Increasing parking charges in line with other similar country parks offering water sports
  • Developing the offer at Pugneys to include more leisure activities and concessions which could include activities such as a straw bale maze, trampolines, bike hire, archery or forest schools

It also suggests a second phase of work which will involve the development of a better offer for residents with the intention of developing the site as a more popular tourist destination.

There are plans for broad consultation on the future of the lake and park, and formulation of a plan to secure a financially sustainable future and improved offer for it.

The council's Cabinet meets on 11 November at County Hall, Wakefield.