Greenwich Council is set to keep control of Maryon Wilson Animal Park, finally abandoning plans to spin the centre off into a charitable trust and ending five years of uncertainty about its future.
The council first announced plans to scrap the park’s budget in December 2010, with a view to looking for sponsorship.
But the trust has struggled to raise the funds needed to take on the park – believed to be about £100,000 per year. Last year, the Friends of Maryon and Maryon Wilson Parks published published an open letter to council leader Denise Hyland asking for her to reconsider the decision to spin the centre off, made by her predecessor Chris Roberts.
While the council has deleted £42,350 – the cost of a stockman, vet fees and animal feed – from its parks budget, it has continued to run the park in the meantime, with last year’s running costs put at £70,000.
Now, if the council’s cabinet agrees on Wednesday, it will keep control of the park, and MWAP will become a Friends group, raising money and supplying volunteers – just as it proposed in last year’s open letter.
The council says it will hold a “complete review of revenue and capital expenditure” on the site and look to “reduce costs incrementally”.