We should hold a referendum over a play area for village

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I was dismayed to read in the Village Voice, in the report of Moulton Parish Council’s October meeting, that the continuing search for land for a play area has again proved fruitless. 

I was more dismayed to again read that the village’s Harrox Sports and Social Club could “see no benefit” in meeting with the council to discuss the provision of a play area. 

Of no benefit to whom? 

I have been unable to find any documentary evidence to support my understanding that the land upon which the Harrox Sports and Social Club resides was gifted to the village by John Harrox for the benefit of the residents of Moulton. 

There is evidence to show that Mr Harrox did leave an endowment for the village school, which is why it bears his name, so one wonders whether the sports and social club commemorates his name for the same reason. 

If it does, and even if it doesn’t, the very fact that it resides at the heart of our village surely indicates that it should be inclined to be a friend of the village. 

There can be no doubt that there is sufficient space on the site for a small area to be set aside for a play area for village children – space to run and play in safety and to enjoy a swing, a slide, a roundabout, perhaps even a rocking horse in the same way that almost every other neighbouring village’s resident children can. 

Not everyone wants to belong to a club, wants to socialise, wants to play sport at competitive level. Many just want somewhere to take the children on a sunny day to throw and kick a ball and have fun. 

And the Harrox field is ideally situated – it is near the centre of the village, near the school, next to the community centre where the pre-school children meet and abuts a car park. 

I would like the council to arrange a village referendum, the question being: Should a small area of the Harrox field be reserved as a play area for children? 

If I am correct, and John Harrox left the Harrox field (or funds which ultimately paid for it) for the benefit of the village then the result of the referendum should be binding upon the Harrox Sports and Social Club, whether those unnamed individuals, presumably at its head, who have declared sharing a small piece of land with village children to be of no benefit, like it or not. 

Some research would have to be done to ascertain whether, in law, a referendum decision could be binding. I can find no reference to the club at the Charity Commissioners’ website (although other Moulton-based charitable institutions can be found apparently rolling in cash which might be persuaded to part with a little to help benefit village children so far denied a small area in which to enjoy innocent play). 

Perhaps the clerk could do some digging; perhaps the club can produce evidence to rebut my impudent assumption. 

You may remember that I became a parish council member (resigned) some years ago with the express wish to further the provision of a Moulton play area for the enjoyment of myself and my young son and others like us. You may remember that we ran up against an angry and negative response from the Harrox Sports and Social Club hierarchy on that occasion. Years have flown by and that young son is now a man and living in London. But another of my sons will, early next year, present me with my first grandchildren – yes, twins are on the way. Ever the optimist I hope to now enjoy happy times with my grandchildren on Moulton’s very own play area. 

Can the parish council, its village electorate and a hoped-for friendlier village neighbour make it happen? 

Andrew Malkin

Moulton