Local MP calls for debate on the power of local councils to charge for sporting events

During business questions today Jack Lopresti MP for Filton and Bradley Stoke asked the Leader of the House of Commons, the RT Hon Chris Grayling MP, for a debate on the power of local councils to continue to have the freedom to charge organisers who run sporting events in their parks.  Jack has now also put in for an adjournment debate.

Jack has called for this debate following letters that Stoke Gifford Parish Council has received from the Secretary of State, The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, in relation to the Council’s decision to request a contribution from Parkrun Ltd for organising running groups of up to 300 people every weekend.

The Parish Council have publicly explained that they have hosted Parkrun Ltd for over three years but the run has grown out of proportion meaning the running groups monopolise the paths around the park and the majority of the car park leaving other organisations using the Park to question why they should pay to do so.

Currently section 19 of the Local Government Act 1976 enables local authorities to provide and charge for recreational facilities.

Jack Lopresti MP says:  “I believe it is important that Councils manage their recreational facilities for the benefit of the local communities and have the freedom to raise money and balance their books in order that these facilities are preserved for future generations.

“I think this is a matter for the local Councils to decide without interference from the Secretary of State.  As I have said previously, Stoke Gifford Parish Council are asking for a contribution from Parkrun Ltd as they do other groups which organise regular sporting events in the Park.  It is not reasonable to expect local tax payers to subsidise the use of the Park by up to 300 runners per day at the weekends on a regular basis when other organisations have to pay a contribution.  Incidentally when my daughter played football at the park for a local team all the players had to pay £2.50 per game per week to contribute to the maintenance of the Park.  Cllr Brown has told me that he is very happy to work with Parkrun to secure a grant offer that Parkrun have so far declined.”

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