Who should own the Playing Field?

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Transport Festival 2009 field

An interesting debate on the future ownership of Audlem's Playing Field got underway at Monday night's Parish Council meeting.

Should the Parish Council take over ownership from Cheshire East council to guarantee protection of the field for the future — or will this simply add to costs on the Parish precept and be, in effect, double taxation?

#Who moved the goal posts?
The debate was sparked by the Parish Council's call for the missing goal posts to be reinstated. Cheshire East, who appear to have lost them, say that goal posts increase the maintenance costs of the field and they will consider transferring ownership, and therefore responsibility, to Audlem Parish Council.

Concern was expressed that this will be a strain on the Parish Council's finances while the counter-argument was that Cheshire East might be tempted to sell off the field at some future date and a valuable local amenity might be threatened.

It was argued that the village needs to do more for its younger people and the playing field is vital for sport and other village events. If owned by the Parish Council, a local contractor could be used to mow and maintain the field. 

The Parish Council, it was said, could also explore taking on ownership of the freehold of the tennis courts, which would generate income as Audlem Tennis Club pays a substantial rent each year to Cheshire East. Ownership of the children's playground should also be considered.

#Jubilee
This year, a special scheme is in place to guarantee the future of playing fields as part of the Jubilee celebrations.

The Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge, operated by Fields in Trust, is a campaign to protect 2012 outdoor recreational spaces in communities all across the country as a permanent living legacy of the Jubilee.

From sports pitches to woodlands, children's play areas to gardens and bicycle trails to parks, the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge will protect a diverse range of outdoor spaces.

 

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