Grange Field - an asset for the community in Charlton Kings

Grange Field sits in the centre of Charlton Kings. It is used for dog walking, for games and as an opportunity to visit and attend the Summer Fayre. However, for many residents it is just an area people cross to get from one place to another.

Charlton Kings Parish Council acquired the lease of Grange Field from Cheltenham Borough Council in 2019. We are very keen to encourage greater use of this fantastic community resource by all local residents and are planning some enhancements with a focus on wellbeing, health, fitness and nature.

Response to residents' petition - 6th May 2021

The Parish Council's response to a petition received from some local residents in relation to the proposed exercise path on Grange Field is contained in the attached document which will also be posted on our Noticeboards.

Friends of Grange Field

Grange Field is at the heart of Charlton Kings. Consultations with the local community over the last few years and the current crisis has highlighted the importance of such an area to people both young and old, and of all abilities. The Parish Council has listened and aims to work with the community to enhance this area and make it more attractive and multifunctional, allowing people to use it and enjoy the space at all times of the year. As you are aware the Parish Council want to work with residents now and in the future and to create a group who have a long-term interest in the Field.

Members of the public who had shown an interest in participating in future plans for the enhancement of Grange Field, plus any residents with particular concerns were invited to attend a virtual meeting on 4th February 2021, and CKPC was very pleased with the response and interest shown by parishioners.

It was apparent that major concerns were around anti-social behaviour, litter and dog fouling. Some people were also unsure about the proposal to lay an all weather pathway around Grange Field.

We would like to reassure residents that we are working very hard to address their concerns, and the following actions are ongoing:

- the Council has ordered a contamination survey by CBC engineers to assess the safety of the ground before undertaking any works.

- as leaseholders of GF, we are contacting CBC to determine whether it is ourselves or them as landlord who is responsible for the flooding which is caused by runoff from both the MUGA and the Kings Hall roof. Suitable action will be taken as soon as possible

- We are working with our nominated Borough Council Community Support Officer to address continuing dog fouling issues. We will trial a free bag dispenser and he will patrol the field from time to time with the power to impose an immediate fine on anyone who does not 'pick up', or who is not carrying a proper receptacle ready to do so.

- the litter bins will be assessed and new or re-designed lids will be provided where appropriate. A discussion with Ubico about collection will also take place.

- since several people raised the issue of difficulties in contacting the Police to report incidents, councillors will conduct a 'trial reports' exercise to understand the problem and if necessary we will take this up with the local police force at the next opportunity.

- we feel that we need to clarify the design of the proposed all-weather exercise pathway around Grange Field, as some people had envisioned a circular 'racing track' type of installation. Many were relieved to learn that the intended plan was to link the walkway with 3 spurs to the adjoining pathways. This would provide a safe and dry crossing for pedestrians entering from all sides and form part of the current network of paths. If the working group wanted to extend the access they could add stepping stones to any planting areas provided in the future. It could also be more pleasant for dog walkers to be able to avoid the muddy grass themselves during a substantial part of the year. A clear space would be maintained in the centre of Grange Field to enable events like the Summer Fayre, and other activities to carry on as usual.

Regarding anti-social behaviour, although CKPC has limited powers to act in some situations, we can report that we have been involved in major discussions with all parties dealing with the problems surrounding the behaviour of a worrying minority of young people.

The Parish Council hosted another in our successful series of Community Support meetings on 19th January, where the relevant organisations (schools, police, churches, councillors) develop plans for supporting our young people through these difficult times and seek to reduce the incidence of antisocial behaviour. We followed this by getting together with key Borough Councillors and the other Cheltenham parishes, to try to develop a professional youth outreach service across Cheltenham. We think we have the basis to create a sustainable, long-term service based on an existing provider and more work is being done to take this forward. Your Parish Council has set aside £10,000 next year which could be used to buy in services to support our young people and address the issues that concern many residents.

We are pleased to report that since this meeting, several residents have offered to join the working group team. We look forward to working with them to help shape future plans.

If you were unable to attend the initial meeting but would like to be involved in the Friends of Grange Field Working Party, please contact the Clerk by email or by telephone on 01242 250087 or in writing to the Parish Office at 26 Church Street, Charlton Kings, GL53 8AR.

Consultation with residents regarding improvements to Grange Field - December 2020

Thank you to everyone who completed the survey in the recent Grange Field consultation. Ideally the Parish Council would have held open meetings to share, discuss ideas and hear concerns but the situation unfortunately prohibited this. However over 210 people took the time to answer the questions and provided us with lots of information and some amazing ideas. A copy of the document summarising the responses received to our consultation, which was considered at our December 2020 Full Council meeting, can be accessed at the end of this section.

However, in summary, what we received told us:

  • A significant number see the opportunity to make a real difference in this area and can see the benefits of investing in Grange Field. There is a huge variety of positive ideas from having an event space to wildlife planting and from fitness to space for art and creativity.
  • A small number don't want any changes. However, for most who gave this response it is related to how others currently treat Grange Field and that any additions may exacerbate this - littering and anti-social behaviour were the main examples given.
  • 2020 has been a difficult year but out of that difficulty some changes have happened. Our home, our neighbours, our local area have become more important to us than they have been in many years. The strength of support for helping our neighbours and friends has been amazing. Friends of Charlton Kings (FoCK), the creation of a community allotment, the buzz on the local Facebook sites to reach out and give, lend, support, offer advice has been non-stop. Within this our local area has been explored, walked, cycled, jogged more than ever and many want to continue in this vein and make Charlton Kings a great place to be in 2021 and beyond.
  • Grange Field sits at the centre of Charlton Kings - many refer to it as the 'heart of the village'. The Parish Council started the consultation process to hear what you had to say and the majority want the Field to be enhanced and to be a valuable resource to all. The Parish Council is committed to making that happen however we do recognise that unless we all play a part then having a great space is not guaranteed. A small number stepped forward to join a group 'Friends of Grange Field' and this will be key to enabling community involvement to change Grange Field from a place which people cross, where litter and anti-social behaviour rule to somewhere people of all ages can exercise or relax, find inspiration and enjoy nature.
  • People gave us lots of information and ideas. Unfortunately, the space on Grange Field isn't big enough to accommodate all of the ideas put forward. The Parish Council, like many of the residents who responded, believes it is important that the central area of Grange Field is left clear for games, events and activities and we need to get the balance right. There will be planting, a review of fitness and activity equipment and if funds allow an all - weather exercise path for all ages which will also provide better all year-round access to the field particularly for those with reduced mobility. Our aim will be to place these so as to enhance the usage of the field by all age groups and where possible not cause concern to the neighbours of Grange Field.
  • One of our first steps will be to acquire the funds to support these projects and we will be working with our partners to secure these and based on our level of success will prioritise accordingly. In 2021 the Parish Council will aim to:
    • Install a "Welcome to Grange Field" sign - many residents did not know what the grass space was called!
    • Establish a Friends of Grange Field group. First steps include establishing a constitution and agreeing its scope. We welcome more volunteers - please get in touch with the Parish Office if you would like to be involved. Our aim is that this group will eventually take over the day-to-day management and development of Grange Field for the community.
    • Install an all-weather exercise path. Following the positive feedback from parish colleagues in Prestbury we propose to proceed with the project in the spring if our bid for funding is successful. This will provide a path of approximately 225m around the perimeter of the field (but not too close to the houses) that is suitable for both runners and walkers of all ages and mobility levels. There will be markers every 25 metres so that people can set themselves targets of speed or distance if they so wish. The exercise path will have short links to the existing footpaths.
    • Consider the way forward for "wildlife planting" and other ways in which the area can be improved in line with our broader environmental strategy.
    • Focus on Youth Engagement - the Parish Council will liaise with local schools and agencies to agree a plan to help to provide young people with a space they can enjoy like everyone else. We will aim to work with others to address the issues raised.
    • Consider possibilities to increase seating - another very popular request - and ways to fund these.
    • Review the Fitness equipment - understand the current provision, siting and use of current equipment and the potential for improvements.
    • Consider installing a table tennis table - a popular idea. Cost and potential location will need to be decided.
    • Review the Activity Facilities for all ages - liaise with Cheltenham Borough Council to better understand the current provision of facilities across Grange Field, the Beeches and the QE Playing Field and discuss the potential to increase the range of provision.
    • Consider what art and creative projects can be taken forward by engaging with local artists and landscape gardeners.
    • Get litter picking working with friends and local agencies to tackle litter and get more bins in place including recycling facilities.

We will keep residents informed as this work progresses through our newsletters, website and social media. Thank you again for taking the time to give us your views. If you have any questions contact the Parish Office on clerk@charltonkingsparishcouncil.gov.uk or 01242 250087.

Events on Grange Field

The Parish Council's Summer Fayre takes place on Grange Field every year. In addition to events organised by the Parish Council, the area can be used by other groups for events subject to strict Terms and Conditions and approval by the Parish Council. Further information can be found in the following documents.

What is happening on Grange Field?

We have provided some Frequently Asked Questions and a draft timeline for our proposals for Grange Field. If you have any questions or comments, please contact the Parish Office.

Bulb planting on Grange Field - October 2020

In October 2020, the Parish Council purchased an assortment of spring bulbs including crocuses and several varieties of daffodils. Volunteers from Charlton Kings in Bloom have now planted the bulbs on Grange Field. We greatly appreciate the help from Charlton Kings in Bloom and look forward to a beautiful floral display in spring 2021.