PLAYING FIELD: A waste of time and money

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The new task group (set up to look at ways Spalding’s Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field could be used for general recreation) will be a waste of time and money.

What South Holland District Council is saying is they will discuss how they can open the field for more general recreation when the following quote from Sir Halley Stewart’s biography states:

“Spalding Urban Council agreed that the four or more acres in the town purchased by the Trust should be used in perpetuity for recreation under the name the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.”

Also, the OS MAP of 1958 shows that the field was a recreation field long after the signing of the trust deed of 1952. So why do we require a task group to look into opening it up for general recreation when the Trust Deed says so?

So now we look at the cost of it to the tax payer. It could not cost any more than it does to keep the football club on there, which this year cost the tax payer £34,000.

They are the only people who benefit from it, because we, the general public, get no public benefit at all, but they refrain from telling you this.

So now I come to the next point. Why is this a waste of time and money? They could sit there and talk this to death and decide what they are going to do, but if at the end of the day the Charity Commission do not agree that there is enough public benefit, they could well turn it down.

It is these people that are saying that the trustees (council) should be providing public benefit, and they say that it is for recreation for the inhabitants of the people of Spalding.

The council put a message on Twitter saying that their recent meeting about the playing field would only be open for part of it and the rest would be behind closed doors. It then comes out that because there was no public there they then decided to make it an open meeting – what a joke.

The plea that we put out was for people to email the council or CC me at my email address and NOT for the public to attend the meeting.

The legal team advises that it should be made clearer that “individuals” could hire the facility. However the Charity Commission actually say that to charge is another way of restricting access to the field for public benefit.

At the end of the day there is only one decision on what happens to the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field and that’s the one I will wait for because whatever the task group decide will have to be put to the Charity Commission for them to consider.

I think that this is just another way for the council to delay things.

Bill Johnson

Spalding Community