Popular country park is back in council control

Winter wonderland: Rother Valley Country Park is popular with visitors all year round.
Winter wonderland: Rother Valley Country Park is popular with visitors all year round.
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ONE of South Yorkshire’s most popular country parks has been returned to council management after a private company running the site had its contract terminated.

Rother Valley Country Park, popular with dog walkers, sailors and canoeists and the setting for an annual dragon boat race and Santa jog, was run by London-based property firm Oak Holdings.

Rotherham Council has now ended the interim management agreement.

The day-to-day running of the park will be unaffected and all staff transferred back to the council on their current terms and conditions, Rotherham Council promised.

No jobs will be lost at the park, which employs an average of 50 people, varying according to the season with more staff in the summer.

It comes 10 months after Rotherham Council also terminated its contract with Oak Holdings to redevelop the former Pit House West opencase site next to Rother Valley into the £350 million YES! leisure complex.

The land is now being developed as Visions of China - the UK’s first Chinese theme park - by another consortium.

A Rotherham Council spokesman said: “Cabinet members have agreed to terminate the interim management agreement Rotherham Council currently has with Oak Holdings plc, which took over the day-to-day management of the park in 2009.

“The seven-year agreement was made in conjunction with the separate development agreement with Oak relating to the Pithouse West site.

“It was intended that this would allow Oak to invest in the improvement of the 750-acre park in parallel with the development of the YES! visitor attraction on the Pithouse West site, and ultimately to manage the whole site as one.

“The development agreement relating to the Yes! project was terminated in January, due to lack of progress with the scheme.

“Seven months later, in August, members selected an alternative preferred bidder for the former colliery site. The bid was put forward by the leisure organisation China Vision Ltd, together with regeneration specialist Mid City Developments.”