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Country Park lease agreed

24 December 2021 : Council news, Planning and development

Somerset West and Taunton Council has agreed a 125-year lease with Cheddon Fitzpaine and West Monkton parish councils to manage Monkton Country Park, known locally as Maidenbrook Country Park.

The Council’s Executive Committee approved the joint lease agreement for the site at Yallands Hill between Taunton and Monkton Heathfield.

Monkton Country Park was acquired by the former Taunton Deane Borough Council from the Crown Estate in October 2018. The freehold asset will remain with SWT so the country park remains in public ownership.

The agreement to lease the land jointly to Cheddon Fitzpaine Parish Council and West Monkton Parish Council for a 125 year period at £1 per annum rent will enable them to manage the park on behalf of SWT with clear delineation of responsibilities.

Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts, Leader of SWT, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to reach this lease agreement.

"It has been a long held ambition of both SWT and the parish councils to secure this country park and protect its green open spaces for the future and long term benefit of our communities.”

As well as being a valued community space, the country park is an important component of Taunton’s status as a garden town.

It will provide green links to encourage greater use of pedestrian and cycle routes from the planned garden communities to the east (Monkton Heathfield) and west (Nerrols), as well as a north/south route improving connections with Hestercombe House, the Quantock Hills AONB and the Taunton urban area.