Posts Tagged ‘Stoke Gifford Parish Council’

Parkrun charging row: Government paper critical of parish council

Posted on Sunday 4th June 2017 at 9:20 pm by SH (Editor)

A BBC reporter interviews a runner in Little Stoke Park on the morning of the cancelled parkrun on 16th April 2016.

Stoke Gifford Parish Council, which hit the national headlines last year when it withdrew permission for a not-for-profit group to use Little Stoke Park for a free weekly running event, has been singled out for criticism by the government in a recently published consultation document titled ‘Running Free’.

The parish council caused outrage in April 2016 when it voted to insist on a financial contribution from the local volunteer group which had staged a weekly 5km ‘parkrun’ in Little Stoke Park since November 2012, claiming that, as an organised group, it should contribute financially towards the maintenance of the park.

Parkrun is a free-to-enter timed 5km run that takes place at 445 locations across the UK at 9am every Saturday. The events are delivered entirely by local volunteers, with support from parkrun UK, a national not-for-profit organisation funded by sponsorship, grants and donations.

Local representatives said parkrun’s founding principles ruled out any compulsory charge being made on participants and forbade them from handling money, the latter effectively ruling out the raising of funds through any other means (such as asking for voluntary donations or applying for a grant).

There is also a 2km junior version of parkrun, for children aged between 4 and 14, the local stage of which continues to take place in Little Stoke Park on Sunday mornings as it was exempted from the parish council’s ruling.

In the consultation paper published on 12th April, the government says the decision by Stoke Gifford Parish Council to impose a charge on parkrun for the use of Little Stoke Park is “entirely contrary to the objectives of this government both for health and for voluntary community action”.

The paper’s introductory section adds: “The government considers it important that action be taken to prevent other local authorities following Stoke Gifford Parish Council’s example.”

More: "Parkrun and junior parkrun share the park with other park users" »

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Planning application submitted for extension of Little Stoke Community Hall

Posted on Thursday 22nd September 2016 at 8:00 pm by SH (Editor)

Proposed extension of Little Stoke Community Hall: Visualisation showing path from car park leading to new entrance on the side of the extended building and the new cafe.

Stoke Gifford Parish Council has submitted a planning application to extend and enhance the existing community hall within Little Stoke Park.

The proposals will provide new sports changing facilities, an ancillary café, an enlarged office for council staff and a larger meeting room. The retained elements will be refurbished and a new bin store and external store will be formed with the existing parking and landscaping being retained.

According to the ‘design and access statement’ submitted with the application, the proposed works will “support the parish’s ambition and aspiration to engender community spirit, activities and cohesion by providing new and improved facilities that can be used for and by the public”.

The proposed works will increase the existing gross floor area from 352.8sqm (plus 19.3sqm external store) to 551.7sqm, an increase of 48.3 percent.

The majority of the proposed works will be on the north side of the existing building, within the area currently used for external storage, which currently has no public access or right of way.

Internally, the new accommodation will provide:

  • Two changing rooms with lockers, showers, toilets and treatment bench for two teams
  • Two officials’ changing rooms with associated lockers, shower and toilets
  • Two small stores for sports equipment and a plant room with external access
  • Café with associated kitchen, servery/bar and utility
  • New entrance, office and meeting room

The new café will be located on the north-east corner of the extended building and will feature two large concertina doors, allowing greater connection to the outside that can be opened during warmer months and, when closed, allow greater visibility due to the large area of glass.

The scheme is being funded with housing developer S106 contributions arising from the Charlton Hayes development.

Plans may be viewed on the South Gloucestershire Council website under reference PT16/4896/F. Consultation is open until 26th September.

Image: Visualisation showing path from car park leading to new entrance on the side of the extended building and the new café.

This article originally appeared in the September 2016 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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Parkrun vote sparks national media frenzy

Posted on Tuesday 3rd May 2016 at 9:21 pm by SH (Editor)

A BBC reporter interviews a runner in Little Stoke Park on the morning of the cancelled parkrun on 16th April 2016.

A decision by Stoke Gifford Parish Council to insist on a financial contribution from the organisers of a popular free weekly run held in Little Stoke Park sparked a media frenzy last month, with the story featuring for several days in national newspapers and on TV news bulletins.

One of hundreds of similar events that take place around the country at 9am every Saturday morning, Little Stoke parkrun is a free-to-enter timed 5k run that is open to everyone and designed to be safe and easy to take part in.

In common with parkruns all around the country, the event is delivered entirely by local volunteers, with support from parkrun UK, a national not-for-profit organisation funded by sponsorship and grants.

The parish council originally decided to levy a charge of £1 per runner “to maintain park facilities in the future”, but this was never implemented and the demand later morphed into a requirement to make an (unspecified) financial contribution. It also suggested that parkrun could apply for a grant from a suitable body (such as South Gloucestershire Council) in order to provide a source for this contribution.

Local parkrun representatives said the organisation’s founding principles ruled out any compulsory charge being made on participants and forbade them from handling money, effectively ruling out a grant application.

Following a six month delay to allow a solution to be found, the parish council met on 12th April to make a decision on “the future of parkrun at Little Stoke Park”.

The prospect of the council becoming the first in the country to charge parkrun for use of a park attracted attention from the regional media and generated interest from around the country, fuelled by an online petition that had attracted 9,000 signatures by the time the meeting began.

After councillors decided, by six votes to four, to withdraw permission for the run after 28th May, should parkrun not apply for a grant, it quickly became a national story, attracting condemnation from sporting celebrities including Paula Radcliffe and Kelly Holmes.

The Little Stoke parkrun on the following Saturday was cancelled by the organisers, who feared a mass protest, however, around 25 runners ignored the plea and were greeted by a BBC TV crew which broadcast interviews with them on their Breakfast Show.

More: Reactions on Twitter; media coverage »

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Thousands sign petition to keep local parkrun

Posted on Friday 12th February 2016 at 9:03 pm by SH (Editor)

Little Stoke Parkrun trial event on 22nd August 2012.

More than 7,000 people have signed an online petition to persuade Stoke Gifford Parish Council to allow the hugely popular Little Stoke parkrun to continue at Little Stoke Park after its future was threatened by a council decision to levy a charge of £1 per runner.

One of hundreds of similar events that take place around the country at 9am every Saturday morning, Little Stoke parkrun is a free-to-enter timed 5k run that is open to everyone and designed to be safe and easy to take part in.

Hundreds of participants

The Little Stoke event began in November 2012, with support from South Gloucestershire Council (SGC), and has seen its number of participants grow from fewer than a hundred per week during its first six months to an average of 235 per week in 2015, with some runs attracting in excess of 300.

It is delivered entirely by local volunteers who contribute thousands of hours of their time over the course of a year.

A founding principle of the global parkrun organisation is that events should be inclusive and have no barriers to participation, which local organisers say rules out any compulsory charge being made on participants and any handling of money by parkrun volunteers.

A parish council meeting last October voted to delay the imposition of a charge for six months, to allow time for other revenue raising avenues to be explored, but on 22nd January local parkrun organisers reported in an email to participants that they had been informed that the council had indicated it now planned to make a decision on “whether or not to withdraw permission” for the local adult parkrun at a meeting of Full Council on 9th February.

An online petition was started, which attracted 5,000 signatures in the first 48-hours, and runners were encouraged to write letters to the local media (the Bradley Stoke Journal has so far received 27 emails on the matter, read one here).

Organisers added: “We remain hopeful that the parish council will accept our argument that Little Stoke parkrun imposes little cost and brings substantial benefits to the community, and is deserving of their continued support.”

More: South Gloucestershire Council called in to help with talks »

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