THE future of Renfrewshire’s regional park is up in the air after one of its major funders announced its intention to withdraw. 

Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park is currently managed and funded by a partnership between Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, and North Ayrshire councils. 

The popular greenspace includes Castle Semple Country Park, in Lochwinnoch, and is situated within all three local authorities. 

However, following several years of cuts to their financial contribution, chiefs at North Ayrshire have now made the decision to serve notice on their agreement and will no longer provide money towards the park’s daily running costs. 

In papers submitted to councillors, North Ayrshire chiefs wrote: “The council currently has no facilities within the boundaries of the regional park, and over the past three years has gradually reduced its financial contribution to the park in line with its medium-term financial plans and in line with the minimal reportable levels of activity in the park which relate to North Ayrshire residents. 

“Reductions to North Ayrshire’s requisition from Renfrewshire Council have been made, from £120,000 in 2016 to the current contribution of £40,000.

“While a period of two years notice from March 31 is required, in light of the current review of the agreement it is hoped that a lesser period can be agreed with the other two councils.” 

North Ayrshire’s decision comes just a year after several jobs were cut within the park, which The Gazette understands included four park rangers, as part of £140,000 worth of savings. 

One member from the Save Your Regional Park campaign group, which has fought for years to protect Clyde Muirshiel, said he feared for the “future of the park”. 

A spokesperson for North Ayrshire Council said: “Our withdrawal from the Joint Committee will not affect the designation of the Clyde Muirshiel Park, which will remain in existence.”

A Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said: “We are working with Inverclyde Council to ensure Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park and its facilities, resources and staff continue to be suitably managed and funded. 

“It continues to be a vitally important environmental and recreational resource.”

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