Ban on council park fun run fees proposed in England


Boards in England will be banned from charging people to take divide in weekend fun runs under rules being proposed by the government.

Unasked for events, organised by the Parkrun group to encourage fitness, attract thousands of creepers on 5km courses (3 miles) in parks across the country.

A parish congress near Bristol last year proposed charging entrants £1 each, citing the set someone back of upkeep of paths.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid is to consult on the proposed legislation.

The recommendations would make it illegal for local authorities to charge Parkrun or subordinate Parkrun, which organises 2km runs for children, for the use of a public park.

‘Free-born access’

Ministers will also examine whether the plans should be proffered to other organisers of fun runs, and to different users of parks such as wizard dog walkers and personal trainers.

The consultation says that “local evidences quite legitimately charge for a variety of different events and specific pursuits that take place in local parks”.

It continues: “However, the administration does not consider it appropriate for a local authority to charge a volunteer community undertaking to provide a free weekly event for the use of a public park, overturning our lengthy standing convention of free access to parks for their everyday use.”

Parkrun, a not-for-profit corporation which organises free, weekly, timed runs around the great, began life in 2004 with an event in Teddington, south-west London.

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‘Fantastic opportunity’

Olympic Gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes was amongst those who condemned the decision by Stoke Gifford Parish Council’s to afflict Parkrun competitors a fee in April last year.

The council said the three-year-old conclusion had led to “increased wear on the park”. But Parkrun closed the event over the purposefulness saying its ethos was to stage it at no financial cost to each entrant.

The management has said it supports the principles behind the runs – community and volunteer led chances for people to get involved in healthy exercise.

Mr Javid added: “These jest events offer a fantastic opportunity to bring people together and mend their fitness too. These new rules will make sure this sustains and prevent any council from charging for the everyday use of public parks.”

Tom Williams, chief run officer for Parkrun UK, said not being charged for access was key to sustaining the turn outs set up by the group.

He added: “It’s fantastic to see the government committed to protecting the principle of disenthrall community access to public parks.

“However, it’s just as important that townswoman authorities receive the support required to ensure these wonderful areas of magnanimous space are available for future generations.

“This consultation represents a illusive opportunity for us all to consider the most appropriate strategy for increasing engagement across our estates whilst protecting their future.”

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