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CLERK'S BRIEFING NOTE

STATUS OF SEDLESCOMBE SPORTSFIELD

1. The Sports Association has queried whether the field is "private" or "public" following murmurings in the Village that the land is public because villagers contributed towards its purchase.

2. The following extract from a Council Legal Topic Note throws light on this subject:

    1. “In Street v Mountford (1985), the court held that there are 3 main indicators of a lease.  These are (i) exclusive possession of the land is given to the occupier such that the lessee may exclude anyone else from his land (including the landlord) because, during the term of the lease, he “owns” the land.  To determine whether or not a given agreement confers exclusive possession a good rule of thumb is to consider whether the agreement confers a large degree of maintenance and control of the premises....... (ii) the lease is for a fixed or periodic term (eg from month to month or year to year) (iii) there is payment of a premium or a periodical payment by the occupier.”

By granting a lease to the Sports Association, renewed in 2005, the Parish Council passed “ownership” to the Sports Association. It may be taken from the above that the Sports Association can exclude whomever they like from the main part of the sportsfield (other than the public footpath).  I am afraid the court of public opinion has no part in deciding whether or not it is a public field!  The field was bought by the Parish Council in 1984 using nearly £8000 that had been put aside in the early 1960s when allotments were sold and the land used to build Park Shaw.  There was an appeal in the Village for money and villagers contributed generously.  However, there was still a shortfall and a Parish Council loan paid for the remainder of the £15,000 purchase.    

 

Mrs P Raymond
Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer, Sedlescombe Parish Council
01424 870508, sedlescombe@freezone.co.uk, www.sedlescombe.org.uk
30 June 2009