Agenda item

Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field Task Group

Update on the current status of recommendations, and an update on all the issues raised by the original task group (as requested by PMP November 2020).


The Communities Manager will be in attendance to provide a verbal update.


The Communities Manager attended to give an annual verbal update regarding the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field Task Group.


The officer outlined the remit of the Task Group:

The Task Group had been established in December 2013 in response to concerns raised by the Charity Commission over the perceived level of public benefit derived from the Playing Field, a registered charity.

Detailed legal advice concluded that the Council had been acting lawfully.

The Task Group scope had been “to consider whether it is possible for the Council to extend and widen public access to the Field within the terms of the Deeds and to make recommendations back to the Council”


The Task Group had made 15 key recommendations which had been addressed, which included:

  • increased promotion and widening of use which had met charitable aims;
  • improved booking process which had captured recommendations;
  • that appropriate fees and charges had been set; and
  • that maintenance and compliance had been managed.


Benefits had included:

  • that access to the Playing Field had been widely available for sporting purposes;
  • the Council had remained compliant with Charity Commission guidance; and
  • that unreasonable costs had not been incurred.


A wide range of sporting and leisure users had been attracted to the site prior to 2020, these had included: Pinchbeck United; Aintree Football Club; ladies teams; Santa Fun Runs; Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue; and Spalding Baptist Church, amongst others. 


The Communities team had organised and delivered two annual events on the site which had:

  • promoted sports clubs and groups across the district;
  • promoted the field for future use.


For 2020/21:

  • Covid restrictions had led to cancellations;
  • the South Holland Outdoor Festival ran by the Communities team in July 2021 had been well attended; and
  • football had returned, with restrictions in place as required.


Future work included actions which related to:

  • review of fees and charges which included utility costs;
  • review of digital bookings options;
  • promotion of the site; and
  • engagement of local clubs and groups.


The Panel considered the update and made the following comments:


  • Members stated that online booking searches for the site had not delivered appropriate results and welcomed an improved digital profile. Members questioned how people could find the site online if they had not known it had been owned by the council. 
    • The officer stated that booking information had been evident at the site through signage. Direct promotion to clubs had included specific booking details. Website key words would be reviewed to improve internet search results.


  • Members asked whether a long-term strategy for the field had been considered. Had 3rd, 4th & 5th generation pitches been considered?
    • The officer confirmed that the field had been left in trust to the people of South Holland and that the council had been bound by the trust. Community minded partners had been supportive in developing the use of the site which had contributed to meeting these aims;
    • the activities needed to be sports and leisure based; and
    • a district-wide piece of work was to be completed regarding pitch demand which included both indoor and outdoor facilities.


  • Members suggested footage and images be used in advertising which demonstrated examples of site use.
    • The officer confirmed that promotion utilised targeted marketing in both digital and physical formats which had facilitated stronger engagement. The officer would check that signage at the field had clearly stated what the field could be used for and how the site could be booked.





That the verbal update be noted.