THE county's parks are going from strength to strength with more improvements in the pipeline.

Country parks managed by Bucks County Council have seen three times as many visitors and are now turning over more than £800,000 annually as opposed to £750,000 15 years ago.

The country parks team is looking at ways which it can increase its growth, and is looking at ways to strengthen the commercial, operations and project management skills.

Two of the three country parks in the county - Black Park in Black Park Road, Wexham and Langley Park in Billet Lane, Iver - could be in line for larger car parking facilities due to the increase in visitor numbers.

Andrew Fowler, head of country parks and green spaces, told the county council's transport, environment and communities select committee that he, along with councillor Warren Whyte, cabinet member for planning and environment, had reviewed operating models for managing the parks.

He said: "Our parks are subsidy-free, they're a fantastic resource with acres of great facilities, and we're very pleased with the way things are progressing."

Cllr Whyte said that because of the increasing levels of net income, the management of the parks would stay within the county council's control.

Visitor numbers across all parks, which also includes Denham and Thorney Park in Denham, have been increasing by 6% every year and an indoor tea room is due to start at Langley Park at Easter.

Mr Fowler told the select committee that the next challenge would be to raise the net income to meet targets that will rise from around £84,000 this year to just over £182,000 in two year's time.

He added that his team is looking at innovative ways to attract more visitors, including a smartphone app and the viability of holiday lodgings.

Select committee chairman cllr David Carroll said: "We really do appreciate the value of our country parks - one of the jewels in the county's crown. Their vision is exciting and positive for the future, and we want to encourage everyone to take advantage of this fantastic asset."

Cllr Whyte added: "As the only self-financing parks service providing a council with an income, what Andrew and the team have done over the years is unprecedented nationally. They richly deserve the select committee's accolade.

"And the future? The challenge to innovate surely won't be a walk in the park, but you certainly won't find our team kicking it into the long grass!"