Home of English Cross Country Relays had been at risk of closure

Mansfield’s Berry Hill Park, which has been the home of the English Cross Country Relays for the past 30 years, looks set to remain open following a meeting held to discuss the park’s future.

The venue for the popular early winter meeting had been at risk of closure following an announcement from its trustees that they could no longer afford its upkeep.

But a “constructive and productive” meeting was held between trustees of Berry Hill Park, the Coal Industry and Social Welfare Organisation (CISWO) and Mansfield District Council on Thursday and the Council has agreed to carry out maintenance of the park so that it can continue to be enjoyed by the public, while options are considered to secure its long-term future.

A petition against the closure has been signed more than 7800 times.

Ian Byett, secretary of the English Cross Country Association (ECCA), had said he remained confident that a solution could be found and following the meeting he told AW: “The ECCA is firstly delighted that the organisations have met and secondly that a process has been started to keep the park open hopefully for both recreation and sport.

“We will continue to monitor the ongoing discussions.”

The grass and woodland park includes an athletics track, football pitch, cafe and playground.

The track had been Mansfield Harriers’ base since 1958 but, as reported by AW at the time, the club was forced to move on in 2012 because of a long-held dispute with Berry Hill Park trustees.

On the park remaining open, Executive Mayor Kate Allsop said: “We are delighted to be able to support keeping this stunning and much-loved park open for everyone to enjoy. It is the right decision for Berry Hill Park and the residents of Mansfield District.

“We are working towards becoming a corporate trustee and this could take up to six months so, in the interim, the Council will maintain the park whilst it remains the responsibility of the current Trustees. The aim is for the Council to take a decision regarding the park’s long-term future in the new year.”