COCKERMOUTH'S popular Harris Park could be run by the town council in the future - if asset transfer plans go ahead.

Town councillors welcomed the offer from Allerdale Borough Council, who plan to spend £50,000 on park improvements.

The borough council has also identified two other sites which could be transferred: land alongside the River Cocker between Cocker Lane and Victoria Bridge and land to the east of the Kirkgate Centre (known as the Rope Walk).

Town councillors agreed to consider them all.

Councillor Alan Smith told a town council meeting: "We want as many assets back in the town as possible, the more we have under town council control the better. This is an opportunity to take these assets and bring them back into play and help bring people back into the town.

"I would welcome the opportunity to talk with Allerdale Borough Council and look at transfers."

A letter from Councillor Michael Heaslip, executive member for environmental quality, said: "Allerdale Borough Council recognises the benefits of Community Asset Transfer and is keen to support it in Allerdale wherever possible."

Councillor Eric Nicholson said: "What concerns me is that if we are going to take this land on we need to make sure it comes wholly to the town council without any conditions.

"That was the big issue we had with the county council when we came to taking over the library. It took a long, long time to get that library handover without any claw back from the county council.

"It's imperative that it comes without any obligations because it's a big ask.

"Harris Park will take a bit of tax payers' money to run."

Councillor Heaslip said: "We have allocated up to £50,000 for investment in Harris Park in 2018/19 which we intend to use for resurfacing of the tennis courts and for re-alignment and re-surfacing of the riverside path.

"The latter might require a phased approach depending on cost.

"This investment will ensure that these assets are in a good condition should the town council decide to proceed with the transfer."

Councillor Alan Kennon said: "The ideal thing would be for it to come with other things, such as car parks. They're an asset which would help us run those."

That would not happen, said Councillor Alan Smith.

He said: "This is welcome. It was 1974 when the urban district council was done away with and everything was divvied up. We are playing catch up.

"Now is a good time to sort out that anomaly. I do not think the people of Cockermouth would begrudge us putting up the precept to look after these things.

"This is a chance to have meaningful conversations."