The backlash over the threat to stop running Bretton Water Park has continued with even a senior cabinet figure at Peterborough City Council vowing to fight the cut.
Council deputy leader Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald said he will not support the authority’s decision to stop running the park to save £18,000 a year.
The cash-strapped council announced the cut a fortnight ago in its budget proposals as it seeks to save £24 million following huge reductions in its government funding.
It has previously said it hopes Bretton Parish Council will take over the running of the family attraction, while charging residents to use the park was also an option.
Cllr Fitzgerald, who previously represented Bretton, said the decision to cut funding for the park was made while he was on holiday, despite him voicing his opposition to the proposals before he went away. He said: “To my surprise when I came back it had been included (in the budget papers). At the internal budget meeting nobody spoke up to save it. When I returned I did so immediately.”
He added: “If it’s going to close I’m not willing to support that. I think a way can be found to keep it open. I will be lobbying personally that the cabinet reconsiders and does not include it as part of the proposed service cuts. If it’s not possible I would like to see alternative funding.”
In a statement on the park issued to the media, the council said the cabinet had “pledged its support in exploring options to keep it open.”
Cllr Fitzgerald said options include charging for use, sponsorship and catering.
He added that even if he is overruled by the cabinet on the park’s future, he will support the council’s budget when it is voted on in March.
“It’s not a resigning issue and nor will I not support the budget,” the deputy leader said. “There are always things in the council we agree with or do not agree with, but as a group we take a majority view - that’s democracy.
“But I will do what I can to keep the water park open.”
The park is run by the council but managed by Amey.
Cllr Lynne Ayres, cabinet member for education, skills and university, said: “We want to do all we can to keep Bretton Water Park open. I’m sure a new provider can be found. It would be a shame to lose this valuable city resource.”
An ePetition on the council’s website, calling on the authority to keep Bretton Water Park open, has started up. If there are 500 signatures it will trigger a debate at the council.
The ePetition can be found at: www.peterborough.gov.uk/council/consultations/petitions/.