Visitors to one of Cheshire East’s most popular outdoor amenities will have the reassurance of extra security in the future thanks to a CCTV system funded by Cheshire East Council.
A cheque for £15,000 was presented to the Astbury Mere Trust to install CCTV and carry out much needed repairs to the visitor centre and ‘Sailsport’ centre at the 42-acre Astbury Mere Country Park near Congleton.
Receiving the cheque from local ward councillor Gordon Baxendale, Trust treasurer Peter Minshull said: “It costs around £40,000 a year to run this park and we receive no direct public funding.
“Therefore we rely on the generosity of funding bodies to enable us to carry out improvements to the park, which are beyond basic routine maintenance.
“One of the key measures identified was the need for a CCTV system and this has been installed just in time for our busiest period during the school summer holidays.
“The park will become a safer place and more secure.”
Astbury Mere has suffered from anti-social behaviour – even theft from donation boxes positioned around the park – and it is hoped the camera system will deter unwelcome behaviour in the future.
Police Community Support Officer John Warren said the cameras will help to make the park safer for visitors and assist police to identify troublemakers.
Around 200,000 people visit the park each year.
The Cheshire East Council grant will also fund much-needed improvements including better toilets and changing facilities and an upgrade to the electrical installation.
Councillor Les Gilbert, Cabinet member for communities, said: “Astbury Mere is a fantastic local resource enjoyed by many thousands of residents and visitors each year and this funding will enable the Trust to address a number of concerns and improve the park’s facilities and security for the benefit of all.”
The country park is a privately owned amenity, owned and operated by the Astbury Mere Trust, a registered charity.
It is recognised as one of the most visited free attractions in the whole of Cheshire.