Hope field could be open to public after inquiry

Padlocked gates at the Sir Halley Stewart Field.
Padlocked gates at the Sir Halley Stewart Field.

Locked gates at a Spalding playing field could be opened up – at least some of the time – to allow the public to use it, according to a community group.

Spalding Community Campaign, set up in a bid to protect the future of the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field, says the trustees have been advised to consider opening up the whole or part of the field on specific days or over a specific period for “informal recreation activities”.

Designated areas could then be made available for public use to protect other areas, such as football pitches, which could be damaged.

The advice has come from the Charities Commission, which was called in to investigate claims by the community group that the trustees were acting in breach of the trust deed by preventing people from using the park.

Currently the gates are locked and the field is used as the home ground of Spalding United Football Club.

Spalding Community Group’s website has published excerpts from the Charity Commission’s investigation on its website after rumours circulated that a decision had been reached that allowed the field to continue being used for sport only – as it is now.

The website says: “Spalding Community Campaign can now confirm, after having directly asked the Charity Commission, that this information is incorrect.”

It states that the advice was sent to South Holland District Council, which acts as the field’s trustees, on August 8 and a response had not been received.

But a spokesman for the council said a meeting is due to be held today with representatives of the Charity Commission.

He said: “The district council continues to work closely with the Charities Commission over the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.

“A meeting involving council officers and members is scheduled for today to discuss the issue further.

“Meanwhile, there is currently no change to the operation of the site.”