Special meeting over football club’s home

Sir Halley Stewart field, Spalding'Murrow Bell v Pinchbeck Sunday'(game called off due to injury)
Sir Halley Stewart field, Spalding'Murrow Bell v Pinchbeck Sunday'(game called off due to injury)
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Campaigners who would like a field left to the people of Spalding to become a public park are hopeful after trustees were called to their first ever meeting in 62 years.

The Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field has been the home to Spalding United Football Club since 1921.

It was placed in Trust in 1952 for the use of the inhabitants of Spalding, continuing to be used by the football club but locked off from free and unrestricted access when not in use.

At the last full meeting of South Holland District Council, Coun Angela Newton asked portfolio holder Coun Nick Worth if a meeting of trustees could be held to discuss placing the grounds with Fields in Trust, which protects village greens and would allow them to apply for additional grants.

Coun Newton also asked whether it would be appropriate to discuss the email all councillors had received from the Spalding Community Campaign, suggesting the council consider applying for some Section 106 monies to transform the field into a public park and playing field.

She welcomed the special meeting being held ahead of tomorrow’s full council meeting and said: “I’m looking forward to the meeting in the hope of getting some answers to questions that have been asked many times in the past.

“The meeting is open to the public, so anyone who is interested in the future of the Sir Halley Stewart Field is welcome to go along.”

Taking a front seat in the public gallery will be one of the campaigners, Bill Johnson.

Spalding Community Campaign has been calling for the field to be turned into a public park and sparked an investigation by the Charity Commission, which is still ongoing.

He said: “It’s great news this meeting has been called.

“We believe the field was always intended to be opened up to the residents of Spalding and not just used for sport.

“Hopefully we will be able to get some answers.”

Coun Worth said he had contacted the campaign group inviting them to the meeting.

He said: “We are waiting to hear from the Charity Commission but have documents that state the former Black Swan Field should be held in Trust by the council for the benefit of the town, but for sport.

“The field had been the home of Spalding United FC since the end of the First World War and has remained so.

“If the Charity Commission thinks we have done something wrong then we will look at it again, but we can do nothing until we hear from them.”

Chris Toynton, chairman of Spalding United FC, said he had been informed about the special meeting.

He said: “The field has been the club’s home since 1921.

“I’ve no argument with the campaigners but they need to understand what it was all about.

“We are not thinking of moving and will not move until we are told we have got to.”

Members of the public who are interested in the future of the Sir Halley Stewart Field can go along to the meeting in the Council chamber at South Holland District Council offices in Priory Road tomorrow (Wednesday) at 5pm. The full council meeting follows at 6.30pm.