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Can a Parish Council Refuse Permission to use the Rec

0 votes
The Parish Council are custodians of the  Recreation Ground in our village. If residents want to use the Rec for a private event, or if a village fair or Fun Day is to be held on it, a form seeking permission to do so is to be sent to the Parish Council along with a Risk Assessment form. I’m some cases insurance is requested for example if inflatables such as bouncy castles are to be part of the event
Are there any circumstances where a Parish Council can refuse a group of residents permission to hold their event in the Rec, given the Rec is essentially owned by the village?
by (880 points)

3 Answers

0 votes
If the parish council has legal title to the land then it can refuse usage.
However a) such a refusal ought to be on reasonable grounds, and b) the land may have a covenant which allows certain activities eg. it may have been sold/gifted to the parish council on the basis that it is given over to playing cricket on the first sunday of each month. You need to check the deeds on this point.
by (2.7k points)
0 votes
What a great question!

There might be covenants associated with the original transfer into PC ownership (if even the PC does have a claim to ownership)

There may also be fields in trust covenants.
There may be an ‘assumption’ by a PC that they have ownership and rights to dictate terms and conditions of use or access and to charge fees for such action.
Such assumptions were certainly true in the circumstances I have in mind and they were based on nothing more than perpetuated hear say rather than facts or any actual examination of the original documents.
Funny how cold hard facts can have such a levelling effect upon generations of poorly informed hear say.
So - can a PC issue usage conditions and charge a fee for use of a public open space?

Well what are they going to actually ‘do’ to prevent it if you just turn up and do it?  Trespass would be a civil matter so you’d be finished before the court action could be secured
Just call it a BAME, LGBTQ+ traveller outreach and engagement event and slap in a s137 grant application. They’ll pay YOU to have the event
by (420 points)
And a bit of a questionable response I'd say. If there are any issues - an accident, police incident, disurbance, and the event took place without permission/relevant insurance I imagine might that cause the event owner issues other than just civil matters?

Also there's no obligation to agree to a s137 application  - especially if it's obviously not what you claim it is and you lie.
Which part questionable and why would it bother the PC other than loss of revenue....

Of course there is no obligation to support a s137 application, that’s why it’s called an application.
You have to try and grasp the deeper issues.
I'd be bothered if, as the poster below says, the ground was left in a state, pitches damaged or whatever else can happen at events. Not only might the PC lose revenue as you suggest but it could cost it money to put it right - liability or not. And the community users and football teams that use ours might not be overly impressed either.

You know, deeper issues.
0 votes
Where I live the recreation ground was bequeathed to the people of the town some 150 years ago to be held by a charitable trust.  The town council are now sole managing trustees of that charity and are guided by the original deed in terms of what can and can't take place on that site.  Modern legislation does impose certain duties and liabilities on those responsible for land, even if that land is held in trust for the public so we too ask for insurance in some circumstances and levy a charge for large events as income to maintain the site is welcome (although it never actually covers the cost of things like grass cutting!).  I don't recall ever refusing an application for use of the land by anyone but we did have an occasion when the area was left in an appalling state after an event and we charged the hirer for the clean up costs (which they did pay) and might have second thoughts if they apply in future.
by (4.2k points)
Modern legislation - do you mean the Occupiers Liability Act?

“...  Modern legislation does impose certain duties and liabilities on those responsible for land, even if that land is held in trust for the public so we too ask for insurance in some circumstances...”

The Occupiers Liability Act requires that visitors (invited and otherwise) are reasonably protected from harm by the state / condition of the land or property.
The H&S Act might also apply if the land were rented out.
What insurance are you seeking to see from users? Event public liability? The organiser of an event either having or not having public liability might be something a PC could ask, but whether they have it or not, and whether there was an incident or not - neither transfers nor implies any liability on the PC.
The attitude isn't necessary.

The council has decided that it wishes to ensure the safety of the public using the recreation ground and therefore will request evidence of public liability insurance for events planned for their land.  We are not lawyers but councillors consider it part of our duty of care to the public to ensure events which take place on our land are well managed and have our own insurance if/when it is required.
No attitude - just a POV supported by reference and experience.

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