Grange Field proposals - Frequently Asked Questions

In engaging in public consultation to seek local residents' views of possible options for enhancing Grange Field the form presented was obviously limited in the depth of information the Parish Council could present. Also with the Covid restrictions in place it was impossible to hold face to face consultations. Now that the restrictions are easing we have started small group consultations to try and address the concerns of local residents. It is hoped these following questions and answers will help address some of the misconceptions and provide you with a greater understanding of the reasoning behind the suggestions presented and thereby help us create a space at the heart of the village that meets the needs of all our residents. If you cannot find the answer to your question on the website, or would like any further information, please contact clerk@charltonkingsparishcouncil.gov.uk

  • What is the Parish Council's vision for Grange Field? In taking on the lease of Grange Field from Cheltenham Borough Council in 2019 the Parish Council has more opportunity to develop for all its residents its vision to make Grange Field 'An enjoyable place where people want to visit and spend time'
  • Why is the Parish Council not developing facilities on The Beeches field? As stated above by taking on the lease of Grange Field the Parish Council has the opportunity to develop and improve facilities for all ages on this green space in the very centre of the Parish. The Beeches Field is managed by Cheltenham Borough Council Green Parks and Spaces department and already has a lot of recreational facilities particularly for the younger generations.
  • Who will benefit? Green spaces are a valuable resource for a community and the Council wants to maximise the potential of Grange Field to provide more opportunities all year round for fitness and well being for residents of all ages and physical abilities. The ideas being suggested stem from the results of significant public consultations starting with the Parish Plan in 2017 followed by its meetings with users of Kings Hall and the Stanton Rooms, CK Health Connect social prescribing and CK Futures strategies.
  • Will there still be events on Grange Field? The improvements intended for Grange Field will leave the central area of the field clear for a wide range of events. The Council will continue to hold its Summer Fayres on the field ( Covid restrictions permitting)and encourage a range of community focussed, non profit making organisations to use it free of charge. Other organisations may be able to hire the field at a reasonable rate subject to CKPC approval.
  • Will I still be able to walk my dog and play games on Grange Field? Absolutely. There is no intention to prohibiting dog walkers on the field (provided they abide by the socially accepted bagging and binning of dog excrement) and informal games will be welcome so long as they do not provide a nuisance to other park users. Those wishing to engage in larger team games will find The Beeches Field more appropriate
  • Why are you planting a new hedge? The hedge is a continuation of that already alongside the tarmac area next to the MUGA and will provide a soft boundary between the field and the access road to the houses. It will also be a habitat for a range of wild life as it matures
  • Why are you planting new trees? The Parish Council is committed to an annual programme of tree planting and this year Grange Field was chosen as a site to plant two trees that will be aesthetically pleasing and support wild life through their blossom and berries. The site selected is within the area of the field designated as most appropriate for increasing the range of natural and sensory planting and thereby encouraging greater biodiversity.
  • Does the Parish Council have a plan for the natural planting area? The Parish Council has a commitment to do whatever it can to enhance biodiversity and Grange Field is an obvious location. Currently it is mainly a grassy field with some trees but there are possibilities for significant improvement to provide a greater variety of habitats. There is no intention to establish formal planted beds as found in some parks but to establish clusters of natural planting to encourage a greater diversity of wildlife and provide more varied colours and sensory planting. There are a significant number of local residents both landscape gardeners and enthusiastic amateurs who we hope will come forward to help develop ideas as the whole scheme progresses.
  • Will there be any changes to the Multi Use Games Area (MUGA ) and what will happen to the tarmac area next to it? There is no intention to do anything with the existing MUGA court and the Parish Council has very recently upgraded the lighting to allow early evening use to continue. The Parish Council is anxious to consult further with the local community for ideas as to how the adjacent tarmac area can be better used. One suggestion is to install a concrete table tennis table in the area behind the MUGA court for all ages to use. (You would need to bring your own bats and balls). There will still be room for more activity options on the open tarmac area - possibly games marking for impromptu games for both children and adults?
  • Why are you proposing more play equipment? There is no intention to create another major children's play area as there is already one in The Beeches. However there is very little provision for the youngest school age children in the centre of Charlton Kings so one possible suggestion is to install , in the vicinity of the newly planted hedge, a small amount of natural wood balancing equipment, similar to that found in some primary schools and in the Brizen Playing Fields. It will not include larger pieces of playground equipment but could provide a small area for activity for the younger children.
  • Why do you propose to put in an all-weather exercise path? In earlier consultations about the development of Kings Hall and the central area of Charlton Kings there was significant interest in establishing a 'daily mile track'. When researching this option it became clear that, although a large track was not feasible due to the size of the field, a shorter exercise path could provide both an all year path as well as a major year round fitness facility for all ages and abilities around a field that can be very wet and muddy for much of the year. It would be a curved path of a suitable material to meet sustainable urban drainage scheme requirements. This will provide an all year round path for walkers, people with disabilities and reduced mobility, mums with prams and children as well as facilitating more energetic exercise for joggers and fitness trainers. It is not intended to meet the needs of serious distance runners. We would like to put in distance markers every 25m to enable people to set personal challenges, be it distance covered or time taken. Prestbury Parish Council has recently installed something similar, albeit on a larger scale, and it has been really well received and used by a wide range of ages and abilities. We have a significant number of local elderly residents who might enjoy a wider access to the field and the opportunity for gentle activity, away from traffic, to the betterment of their health and well being. The surface is suitable for wheel chair users and those with mobility frames. Similarly very young children can enjoy scooting and learning to ride a bike in a safe environment. Once the landscaping project is established it will give access to these areas.
  • Will the exercise path increase flooding? The proposed exercise path uses a system that meets the standards for sustainable urban drainage which means the water can percolate through the material into the subsoil rather than run off onto the field. Because of this feature it does not require planning permission. The contractor would be asked to provide a statement that the path will not adversely impact existing flooding issues. The Parish Council is actively considering ways in which the existing flooding issues might be addressed.
  • Will the funding for the path come from the Parish Precept? The Parish Council has stated that its ability to develop the various proposals for Grange Field will be largely dependent on the availability of grant funding. In December 2020 the Parish Council became aware that there was still significant grant money available in Gloucestershire County Council's Growing Our Communities Fund due to end 31st December. The Parish Council were able to demonstrate that their plan for the all weather exercise path fully met the required criteria and were therefore successful in their application. The grant is specifically for this project only and has to be used within the year. The grant covered the majority of the costs for path installation with the remainder coming from a community infrastructure levy (CIL )fund. The Parish Council will be able to reclaim the VAT element of the costs. Money from the precept will not fund the path. The grant money cannot be used for any other projects.
  • Why might the exercise equipment be resited? We welcome your ideas on where to site the current exercise equipment The Parish Council's proposals include the possibility of increasing the number of pieces of equipment. The current three pieces were installed following a successful grant application by Charlton Kings Parish Council prior to it taking on the lease of Grange Field. This was a while ago and they might no longer be in the best position. The proposed enhancement is an opportunity to think about the best location for all the equipment. It is hoped that eventually professional support may be available to provide the most effective use of the equipment.
  • What type of memorials may be considered? The Parish Council are anxious to make Grange Field a place for the community and it may be that there are residents who would like to create a remembrance of a loved one in some way, possibly by donating a seat / bench, planting a tree, planting bulbs etc acknowledged by a plaque.
  • Who will manage the upkeep of Grange Field? It is the Parish Council's intention , once the major fitness activity items are in place and ideas for landscaping are agreed, to try and set up a separate organisation of local residents, The Friends of Grange Field, to manage the day to day running and maintenance of the Grange Field. This is a successful practice long established in Naunton Park and Hatherly Park and gives back some ownership of Grange Field to the community for the benefit of the community.
  • Will emergency Services still have access to Grange Field? The Parish Council will consult with the emergency and utility services to ensure any actions taken will not impair their access to the Field and nearby housing.
  • Why are the Parish Council proposing more seating? The Parish Council wants Grange Field to be a place where people can come and relax, enjoy the surroundings and meet up socially. Some people are happy to sit on the grass or bring folding chairs but there are others, particularly the elderly, who without some where to sit and rest may be confined to their homes. In the consultation outcomes a significant number of respondents asked for there to be more seating provide, some so that they could sit and watch their children playing. Careful consideration will be given to the siting of any new seats so as not to impact on residents' privacy.
  • What measures will the Parish Council take to manage increased litter? The Parish Council is keen to manage the problem of litter on Grange Field, the surrounding Church Piece area and in the rest of Charlton kings. It sought the local community concerns about the litter situation in the central area. It is actively responding to the issues raised by consulting with the appropriate authorities on how best to manage this. It is also looking to improve recycling facilities within the whole central area.
  • What measures will the Parish Council take to manage increased dog fouling? The Parish Council has met with the Community Support Officer regarding local issues and he is carrying out visits to the areas. He has the power to impose fines on anyone not clearing up after their dog or not being in possession of a suitable plastic bag.

Other Frequently Asked Questions about the Parish Council's work

What is happening regarding the Kings Hall? The Parish Council has agreed that it will take responsibility for securing the future of the Kings Hall. It is owned by Cheltenham Borough Council and until October 2021, is leased to the trustees of the Kings Hall Youth and Community Centre. Cheltenham Borough Council has offered to sell it to the Parish Council, and we have commissioned a condition survey of the building to help us to decide what price we would be prepared to pay. A second, smaller piece of work is needed to investigate the stability of the east wall. The Parish Council has a working group that is putting together a series of options for the Council to consider when all the necessary information has been brought together. The options range from 'do nothing' to a full demolish and rebuild.

How are plans for Grange Field related to those for the Kings Hall? Ideas to improve Grange Field are mostly independent of what happens to the Kings Hall and can be brought forward before whatever works are necessary to secure the future of the building. The one exception is the long-standing problem of flooding of the footpath between Buckles Close and Church Piece, which is caused by water flowing off the MUGA and from the roof of the Kings Hall. Sorting out the flooding will require the water to be piped into the Church Piece drains and this would be very costly unless done as part of works to the Hall. Simply filling in the existing 'pond' would only make matters worse.

When will the Kings Hall be open to hirers? The trustees of Charlton Kings Youth and Community Centre will say when the Kings Hall can be re-opened to hirers. It is not a decision for the Parish Council to take.

When will the Stanton Suite be open to hirers? The Parish Council has taken the opportunity provided by lockdown to completely re-decorate the Stanton Hall, Conference Room, internal toilets, and Parish Office, using a fund that has been built up over the last five years. Subject to any review of COVID-19 restrictions, the Stanton Suite will be re-opened for hiring from 17th May 2021 and to encourage our previous hirers to return, hire fees will be reduced by 50% until 1st September 2021. New hirers will be charged at the full rate.

How do the Parish Council, Borough Council, and County Council work together? FOR FURTHER INFORMATION REGARDING RESPONSIBILITY FOR PARTICULAR ISSUES SEE OUR A to Z OF SERVICES WEBPAGE. It may sometimes seem as if the three tiers of Local Government don't know what each other is doing and that services are missed or overlap. However, a great deal of work goes into trying to make sure that doesn't happen. The Parish Council organises meetings of all councillors together from time to time so that the big issues can be discussed and addressed together. The Parish and County Councils' responsibilities are very different but in particular, there is a regular liaison meeting with Gloucestershire Highways to bring local issues forward for attention. Recent examples have been the clearance of the blocked gulleys on New Street, replacing the missing kerbstone by the War Memorial and addressing the road safety issue on the Cirencester Road by Spirax Sarco. All have been attended to. The 5 Parish Councils and the Borough Council meet together every quarter at C5 meetings and Charlton Kings has close relationships with the Partnerships team, the Trees officer, the Green Space Manager, and many others. We are working together on renovating Church Piece precinct (including jointly funding a copy of the water rill mosaic which will be installed very soon), tree planting and a new tree trail leaflet for Newcourt Green, and integrating our CK Futures plans with the Cheltenham Net Zero Climate Change programme. We don't always agree on everything but when we disagree, we seek to reach a solution together.

What is happening regarding Youth Work in Charlton Kings? After many years of providing a youth club in the Kings Hall, the trustees of the Charlton Kings Youth and Community Centre found that their only youth service provider had closed his business in summer 2020 when the pandemic was the last straw on top of a continuous lack of funding of youth services. A national issue, and a county one too, but the result has been that there is currently no youth service in our parish. To address this, we initiated a discussion at the C5 meeting in January 2021 and as a result, there is now a £60,000 pot of money that has been put together by the Borough Council, three Parish Councils (including £5,000 from Charlton Kings), Cheltenham Borough Homes, and the Clinical Commissioning Group. Additional funds are being sought from other potential partners. The plan is to commission a youth service for 12 months that operates across Cheltenham including outreach into our parishes. This must be kept going in the long term, and we will prioritise a commitment to engage in the same way in future years. Last summer, we worked with Friends of Charlton Kings and the Charlton Kings Youth and Community Centre trustees to provide a small but effective team of two trained youth workers who ran a range of programmes for young people over the summer. This was very successful with a small number, and we have £5,000 set aside to do something similar this summer if necessary.

What is being done about antisocial behaviour? In November 2019, when we were experiencing a lot of antisocial behaviour, the Parish Council brought together a group of organisations working with young people, including councillors, schools, police, churches, and youth workers when available. This Community Support Group last met in January 2021 and will continue to do so. Issues are mainly considered to lie with young people, but other things like dog fouling and littering are also important to address. We have therefore been working with the Borough Council's Community Support Officer on dog fouling, and hope that the Grange Field group will tackle littering.

Why is there not more CCTV in Charlton Kings? There is always a big demand to install more CCTV camera surveillance. These systems are not only costly to install but very expensive to monitor. They are not universally effective if as a result, trouble spots are simply moved around. We also collectively need to think how much surveillance we are prepared to accept as a society. Nevertheless, the Parish Council has, this month, bought new cameras and a new HD recording system that will monitor the doors of the two public toilets and Church Piece