Olveston Football Club will be referred to as OUAFC and the Parish Council will be referred to as OPC.
Over a number of years, the status of the Recreation Ground at Old Down, a registered Village Green has been discussed but not to any great extent or detail. Specific matters have been have been looked at but not really the green as a whole. Due to events in the last six months there has arisen a need for the current council to gain a greater and more rounded understanding of the implications of having and managing a Village Green and the balance of improvements for the betterment of lawful sports and pastimes.
There is also a realisation by OPC that the issues of a Village Green are more complex and far more open to interpretation than it first thought. Because of this OPC is considering consulting specialists in the field of Village Greens and Common Land to reinforce its understanding of the restrictions and limits in relation to what has already occurred on the village green since the 1969 registration and what the council would like to do in the future.
This will help OPC to ensure that the Village Green remains appropriately protected, whilst maximising its potential in its use for lawful sports and pastimes and preventing unnecessary harm to the green.
It has become apparent that there have been a number of rumours and OPC would like to set the record straight in regard to the following items:
Rumour 1: OPC is looking at de-registering the Village Green?
Answer 1: OPC has investigated this option in the past. As the land is in excess of 200 square metres, one of the requirements of the Planning Inspectorate for deregistration is that replacement land of the same size is offered. OPC does not own any suitable land of a similar size and it was therefore determined that this option is not viable.
Rumour 2: OPC is favouring the football club over the rights of other parishioners?
Answer 2: OPC represents the whole of the Parish and not just an individual or group of individuals. This includes all the clubs and groups that operate within its boundaries. OPC supports all forms of sports and wishes to encourage them within the Parish, especially when they promote the youth in sport.
Specifically, in regards to the OUAFC, it has 8 teams of which 6 are youth teams and we, as a Parish, should be proud of this fact. OPC supports the proposed improvements to the changing areas and the QAMP building as it not only offers better facilities for the OUAFC, it also gives the potential to increase the options to have more sport played at QAMP by other groups. The QAMP facilities is, in itself, enabling betterment of the enjoyment of lawful sports and pastimes for organised clubs.
Rumour 3: OPC are still supporting the OUAFC in regards to dugouts.
Answer 3: OPC has revoked its previous support for the dugouts, OPC has requested that OUAFC apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness to determine if planning consent is required or not for mobile dugouts. OPC has also informed the OUAFC that it will require a new detailed proposal be submitted to OPC for consideration. OPC will always reserve its right to change its conditions of use in regard to mobile dugouts.
Rumour 4: If the OUAFC get dugouts they will be out all year round.
Answer 4: OPC has already expressed that even if the OUAFC required, applied and gained planning permission from South Glos the OUAFC would still have to comply with restrictions put in place by OPC.
Rumour 5: Once OUAFC have the dugouts, there will be an application for a supporter stand and floodlights.
Answer 5: There is a restriction in the club's constitiution which prevents them from promotion to a professional league which would require these types of structures.
Rumour 6: If OUAFC wish to have advertising boards all they have to do is go to South Glos and apply.
Answer 6: OPC has revoked its support for the additional advertising boards and has already informed the OUAFC that it will have to resubmit its proposal to OPC before it applies to South Glos. At that point OPC will reserve the right to change its conditions should they make a successful application.
There has been a request for publication of a copy of the document that we are considering sending to a specialist for legal opinion. This document does not exist and consequently cannot be produced.
OPC has recognised that this is an emotive issue. Over the next few months I will, with my colleagues, South Glos and with other specialist assistance formulate a document to help provide further clarity on our curent position and to guide the Parish Council on managing our Village Green.