Your story majors on the interests and intentions of Spalding United Football Club, reports the ambitions of retail specialist Corbo and finds only half a sentence to mention that the field is actually owned by the people of Spalding.
I can’t blame you too much. The fault lies with the covert behaviour of the district council, its habit of trying to get its schemes cut and dried before making a late-stage disclosure, and its too-often displayed contempt for the people of the town.
Since hints began to appear in your papers that ideas were afoot for developments on the field, it has been clear that the council was up to its old tricks of planning the disposal of publicly-owned space for the benefit of developers.
It simply doesn’t seem to feel a need to take account of the public interest.
That’s bad enough when the council actually owns the space concerned. When it is merely the trustee on behalf of the people of the town, it is deplorable.
The football club is not the owner of the field and never has been.
An earlier council was wrong to have given the club exclusive use, thus preventing the evolution of general public use in line with the trust deed.
During the field’s earlier incarnation as the Black Swan field, the football club held its matches there for decades, but many other activities also took place.
The field had a continual liveliness about it which has been lost through the lack of will-for-good of successive councils.
The article refers to space acquired by the football club near the A16. Whilst such space might satisfy the needs of the club, it would not constitute a replacement of the Halley Stewart as required by the terms of the trust deed.
The centrally located field enables convenient access to ‘the people of Spalding’ to whom the field was given. An out of town venue would make access difficult or impossible for those without motor transport.
If any alternative space were to be contemplated, it would need to be as conveniently located as the Halley Stewart and of equal facility, and must legally be owned by the people of Spalding under the trust deed.
Given the lack of fitness for trusteeship shown by successive councils, the possibility should be explored of finding an alternative trustee.
But perhaps most of all, the people of the town should declare with a strong voice: “Enough of this duplicity. It’s time the council shed its imperious overlord attitude, and began behaving as if it were the public’s servant, not its master.”
Too much lack of challenge has led to ingrown hubris amongst a core of councillors, and a regrettable lack of responsibility amongst the Spalding set in particular.