Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Council agrees not to charge sports club to use village green after all

THE football and cricket clubs in Whitchurch will not have to pay for the use of

THE football and cricket clubs in Whitchurch will not have to pay for the use of the village green.

The parish council, which owns the site off Eastfield Lane, had planned to introduce an annual charge of about £400 to cover maintenance costs.

But now it has adandoned the idea following a consultation prompted by objections.

Last year, the council sent a survey to every household in the village and received 78 replies, 39 of which were opposed to the idea of charging and 35 were in favour.

Now it says it will continue to pay for the maintenance as long as the cost doesn’t exceed 10 per cent of its annual budget.

Last year it paid £2,700 for grass cutting, new signs and fencing and the repair of vandalised benches.

Councillors have formed a working group to look at ways of further improving the site, including replacing the cricket pavilion.

Almost 90 per cent of the survey respondents wanted more recreation facilities for Whitchurch Primary School and the pre-school while 55 per cent wanted a basketball hoop for teenagers.

Only 23 per cent were in favour of a skateboard or bicycle ramp while 31 per cent favoured a fitness trail.

Almost everyone agreed the green was important for events such as the annual village fete and 55 per cent thought there should be picnic tables and a public barbecue. Sixty-three per cent said the new cricket pavilion should be available for hire for private functions.

Councillor Jim Donahue, who runs the council’s village green working group, said: “It is clear from the feedback that residents place a high value on the green for a broad range of purposes.

“The numerous comments will provide invaluable feedback for planning its future use, including replacement of the pavilion.’

The sports clubs say they will consider contributing to the cost of improvements on a case by case basis and the cricket club will consider helping pay for the new pavilion.

Both clubs have expressed an interest in helping with tasks such as leaf clearance and fencing repairs, as have the primary school and the Whitchurch Habitat Study Group.

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