Why it’s not all a field of dreams in Woodhall Spa

Councillor says residents are being 'deprived' of using this field. Picture: John Aron.
Councillor says residents are being 'deprived' of using this field. Picture: John Aron.

Local residents in Woodhall Spa are being ‘deprived’ of the chance to enjoy a public space because it is being over-used for events, and as an overflow area for a neighbouring camp and caravan site.

That is the claim of parish councillor Spencer Phelan who is calling on East Lindsey District Council to monitor the use of the village’s Rally Field more closely.

Speaking at the September meeting of the parish council, Coun Phelan said the fieldwas a safe place for residents to enjoy.

He said he understood there was an agreement about how many times a year the field could stage events - and be used as an overflow area for neighbouring Jubilee Park.

Coun Phelan admitted there has not been an issue in previous years, but added it had been been used ‘almost continuously’ by campers and caravanners this summer.

He told the meeting: “I would argue that is depriving locals and residents of a safe space.

“We need to protect that space, otherwise it going to turn into another car park.”

Councillors heard the current agreement was for the field to be used 20 times a year for events and as an overflow.

Coun Phelan stressed the figure was much higher, adding a combination of camping gas cylinders, and kids kicking a ball around was not safe.

He said: “The gate for letting cars in is opened by Jubilee Park - it must be.

“I am intrigued to know every time they want to open that gate, is ELDC informed?

“Has ELDC agreed to that use? If not, there needs to be a system in place to stop misuse, or overuse of that space.”

ELDC leader and ward district councillor Craig Leyland said he was not aware of any complaints, and pointed out the field had been a key part of village events for many years.

Coun Leyland said: “There was a threat to build on it, but hopefully that has gone because it is a protected open space.

“Long-term, there does need to be some sort of management.”

Coun Phelan countered by saying he had received complaints and added: “There is potential for misuse and overuse. That has happened over the summer.”

Coun Leyland pointed out how important the field was to Jubilee Park. He described himself as a ‘silent trustee’ of the park and told the meeting that that since leaving council ownership, the park had taken on a more ‘commercial bent’ and had to ‘sustain itself.’

The park has enjoyed a record year, and Coun Leyland reminded the meeting it brought ‘considerable benefits’ to the local area economies.

Coun Phelan replied: “I don’t dispute that, but we can’t keep extending it and not managing it, because we will lose that open space.

“There are cars on there when other spaces are available. It should not be Jubilee Park who decide. That’s not what the system is.”

Parish Council chairman Coun David Clarke said he did not want the issue to cause friction ‘between us and Jubilee Park.’

He said: “There is a suspicon that we want restrict access to the Rally Field which is not the case.”

Councillors heard the field could be part of a transfer of assets between ELDC and the parish council and they agreed to return to the matter at a future date.