Mapledurham Playing Fields Drop-in Sessions This Week

TWO public drop-in sessions have been organised as a 10-week consultation into the future use of Mapledurham Playing Fields draws to a close.

There are two weeks left of the public consultation which was prompted by the Education Funding Agency’s (EFA) decision in 2015 to identify part of Mapledurham Playing Fields as its preferred location for the new Heights Primary School.

The Council is consulting on the EFA proposal and another proposal called ‘Fit4All’ submitted by Mapledurham Playing Fields Foundation.

As trustee of the Recreation Ground Charity at Mapledurham, Reading Borough Council’s role is to provide and maintain the Mapledurham Playing Fields for the benefit of residents of the Parish of Mapledurham, and of the Borough of Reading as a whole.

The details of the two drop in sessions being held this week are:

  • Wednesday 13th September: Caversham Library, 1pm – 5pm.
  • Monday 18th September: Rivermead Leisure Complex, 6pm – 8pm.

The EFA proposal would provide £1.36 million in funding which could be used to improve leisure facilities on the playing fields. This forms part of the EFA’s proposal to lease 1.231 acres of the 27.35 acre Mapledurham Playing Fields site to build a new school for the Heights Primary School.

A proposal called ‘Fit4All’ – put forward by the Mapledurham Playing Fields Foundation – seeks to lease the Playing Fields for fundraising purposes and to manage the grounds without any loss of open space.  The Foundation regards the Fit4All proposal as an alternative only to the EFA’s proposal.

The drop-in sessions this week will allow residents to find out more about the two proposals.

Details of both proposals can also be found on the dedicated Council consultation link at: Residents can have their say by following the same link.

The closing date for comments is 25th September 2017 and the consultation results will be reported back to a meeting of the Mapledurham Playing Fields Trustees Sub Committee for consideration.

Cllr Deborah Edwards, Chair of the Mapledurham Playing Fields Trustees Sub Committee, said:

“I would like to thank everyone who has taken part in the consultation so far and to remind residents it is not too late to have your say.

“The two drop-in sessions are designed to provide information and answer any questions people have about the proposals for Mapledurham Playing Fields.

“I would encourage as many people as possible to take part in the consultation before 25th September and give their views on which of the two proposals could provide the most benefit to residents in terms of future leisure provision on Mapledurham Playing Fields.”

The purpose of the consultation is to seek the views of the residents of Mapledurham and Reading (the beneficiaries) on four key issues. They are:

1)           If the Council were to grant a lease to the EFA, how should it consider applying the premium of £1.36 million in funding in order best to enable the Charity to use the Playing Fields for recreation?

2)            Is the grant of the lease to the EFA likely to enhance the amenity value of the Playing Fields for  the Charity’s beneficiaries?

3)            Or should the Sub Committee prefer the Fit4All proposal made by the Mapledurham Playing Fields Foundation?

4)            If the lease is granted to the EFA, should the Council as trustee take steps to impose a legal restriction on the remainder of the Playing Fields in order to ensure that it can only be used by the Charity for recreational purposes in the future?

Notes To Editors:

Reading Borough Council holds the Mapledurham Playing Fields in its capacity as charity trustee of the Recreation Ground Charity at Mapledurham. The Charity is registered with (and therefore regulated by) the Charity Commission. The charitable object of the Charity is: “the provision and maintenance of a recreation ground for the benefit of the inhabitants of the Parish of Mapledurham and the Borough of Reading without distinction of political, religious or other opinions.”

Oscar Mortali

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