Half a minute!

Keen readers of the Parish Council minutes may have noticed that in the draft minutes from the 15 May, 2017 meeting part of Minute 1328 reads:

“Land used by playground & tennis court remains in the ownership of RM & family and Cllrs would support any parishioner wishing to investigate this ownership.”

These minutes were signed as a true record at the PC meeting on 7th June.

Can anyone explain why the Parish Council would wish to support further investigation if they believe their assertion about the ownership of the land.

The position looks more curious, as in 2005 a group of residents attempted to tidy up the area in question and this was followed by a series of meetings to discuss possible ways forward.  These meetings were chaired by Phil Bamford, known in the Dragon as “magnet man”, and attendees included the current chairman of the Parish Council and a resident who has subsequently become a member of the PC.

During these meetings it was established that the area consisted of three parcels of land, one acquired from Newton Hall estate having originally been the subject of a lease, a second had been purchased from Mr G G Mackereth and the third which remained in the ownership of Mrs Ruth Mackereth and her family.

The first two parcels of land were acquired by the Trustees of the “Whittington Youth and Sports Club Trust”.  Strangely, this Trust does not appear to have any legal foundation and it is rumoured that the “Trustees” acquired the land on behalf of the Village Hall Trustees.

Should we be concerned about who owns the land?

I believe that as a community we should because the land is now an eyesore and there are potential dangers for anyone making use of it.

Further, if anyone is injured on the land the issue of legal liability will inevitably be raised which may cause embarrassment for the owners, particularly if their public liability does not provide cover.  Of course if the land, or any part of it, were to be found to be the responsibility of the Village Hall this embarrassment would fall on its Trustees, currently eight in number.

Way Forward

Personally, I have no confidence that the Parish Council will recognise this as an issue and will no doubt be able to offer a convincing explanation of the confusion surrounding Minute 1328.

If I were a Trustee of the Village Hall I would be very anxious to ensure that I was not personally at risk.

If I were one of the four “Trustees” of the supposed Whittington Youth and Sports Club Trust I think that I would be inclined to ensure that some positive action is taken.

Otherwise, as a resident “Plus ca change”.

Graham Williams.

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