Field consultation

Bredhurst Parish Council is undertaking a consultation on the lease renewal of the playing field in Hurstwood Road.

Below is a list of frequently asked questions, with responses. If you have any questions not covered below, please contact the clerk on bredhurstpc@live.co.uk.

Who suggested the fence?

The suggestion came from Savills, as part of a discussion regarding the lease renewal.

Why is there a need for a fence?

As a result of encroachment onto the land from hall hirers and to minimise BPC’s liabilities. The purpose of the fence is to obscure the view of the field from the hall. If hall hirers are unable to see the field, they will be less likely to encroach onto it.

Why shouldn’t village hall hirers use the field?

Because hirers pay a fee to use the village hall, the committee of which uses that fee for the maintenance and upkeep of the village hall. Hirers do not pay a fee to use the field, and nor do businesses run from the hall. There is therefore no contribution towards the maintenance and upkeep, which is covered solely by BPC using residents’ council tax. Hirers and businesses using the play areas contribute to the general wear and tear on the equipment which has to be covered by BPC finances.

How many incidents have there been with hirers using the field?

There have been a number of incidents over the last few years. Hirers have used the field for wedding photos and allowed guests to sit at the bench in the play area with what appeared to be alcohol. More recently, a photo was taken of a hirer entering the play area with what appeared to be alcohol. Play equipment has been vandalised by someone who was believed to be a hall hirer. Rubbish left by hirers has been found on the field. A business run from the hall regularly uses the play equipment.

Where would the fence be located?

The fence would be installed along the boundary between the rear of the village hall patio area and the toddlers’ play area.

What is the height of the proposed fence?

The height of the proposed fence would be approximately 2m.

What about the existing five bar gate to the left of the village hall?

This is in a state of disrepair and needs replacing anyway. It would be replaced with double gates to match the fence, but with the height to be determined, possibly at the same height as the existing five bar gate. The gates would be locked, which is currently the case for the five bar gate, and this entrance would give vehicular access to the field. Pedestrian access to the field would be alongside the church shop, as it is now.

Has a fencing contractor been asked to quote for fencing the entire field?

No. A contractor misunderstood the requirements and provided a quote for the whole field, but has now revised the quote to what was originally asked.

Doesn’t installing a fence create problems with potential anti-social behaviour as it will screen the play area from view?

The proposed fence will not screen the play area from the field. Field users will have the same visibility of the play area as before. The only view that will be screened is from the village hall to the play area, which does not form part of the village hall land and hall hire.

Couldn’t you plant hedging or install a more open type of fence?

The purpose of the fence is to screen the view from the hall to the field making it less likely that hall hirers will use the field.

Are you intending to lock the pedestrian gate when the village hall has a function?

Locking the gate would be a possibility, as it is currently as the existing gate has a padlock. However, it would only ever be done in exceptional circumstances, as a last resort, and would have to be subject to a policy agreed by the council. There are no plans to lock the gate on a regular basis and if hall hirers do not encroach onto the field it will not be necessary at all.

Are you advocating access via the adjacent field?

No. All contractors who provided quotes for the fencing some weeks ago were asked to quote for blocking the existing access via the field.

Do you really need to add £3000 to the precept?

In past years, the budget for maintaining the play equipment has not been sufficient and the money has been taken out of other budget headings or council reserves. The play equipment requires constant maintenance and will need replacing at some point in the future. Other parish councils budget £3000-£5000 every year for play equipment. We therefore believe that £3000 is a reasonable figure.

 

Why can’t the field and the hall be managed as one?

BPC has suggested to the village hall committee that they could take over the field lease and manage both the hall and the field but they do not wish to do so. UPDATE 15/08/17: BPC has been contacted by the chair of the village hall committee who informs us they may be interested in taking over the lease. Savills has informed us that they cannot legally negotiate with any other interested party unless or until BPC serves notice. Savills would also need to discuss the matter with the landlord who may have alternative options for the field. Should BPC terminate the lease, all play equipment would need to be removed and it should not be assumed that the lease would automatically be offered to the village hall committee.

 

Why can’t BPC work with the village hall committee to stop this division within the village?

BPC has attempted to work with the village hall committee and has frequently requested to meet with them. BPC has no desire to cause division or upset.

Why wasn’t BPC involved with the meeting held on 5th August?

BPC was not asked to attend.

At this meeting a resident said BPC was under investigation. Is this true?

BPC is not aware of any such investigation and is taking legal advice on this statement.

How are the responses being kept confidential?

All responses are being sent to the clerk. Responses to the questions are counted and comments are typed up in a separate document. Names and addresses are then removed from the response forms. Cllrs will be sent the responses and the comments, with no personal details.