Should the town bowling green become a Field in Trust?

Reepham’s bowling green at Townsend Court was purchased by community fundraising and entrusted to the Reepham Society in 1989.

The Reepham Society owns the land occupied by a small bowling green, acquired when the Sun public house closed in the late 1980s

In late summer 2012, a member of the Reepham Society did some research about Fields in Trust having read about it in the newspaper.
She discussed it with others, and together eight people wrote in October to the Society’s committee to ask if they would consider the bowling green being dedicated a Field in Trust.
They thought that it would have many benefits for the Society, the Reepham Town Bowls Club and the wider community. No decision has yet been received.
Founded in 1925, Fields In Trust is a charity that safeguards all kinds of outdoor spaces “to ensure they are still there for future generations to enjoy”.
There are many benefits of land becoming a Field in Trust.
Legal officers of the Fields in Trust charity would complete the deed of dedication to achieve Field in Trust status for the land used by the Bowls Club at no cost to the Reepham Society. Fields in Trust would then protect the land as a precious green open space, one of very few in the centre of the town.
Registering the land would be beneficial to the Bowls Club as it would entitle them to apply for money from Sport England, among other organisations, for funding to help them maintain the grounds and make improvements; it could also mean that the council tax was reduced.
The Charity Commission had no objection to this dedication occurring.
The Reepham Society is an “amenity society” and has among its objects a commitment “to secure the preservation, protection, development and improvement of features of historical or public interest in the area of benefit”. It is also a member of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
Ensuring that the bowling green remained a green space would fit well with these objectives, as the land has been used for bowling since 1895 and is a wildlife habitat.
The Reepham Society would also be honouring the fact that the land used by the Bowls Club, as well as the clubhouse and toilets built on the site, was bought by donations from the community.
In 2011, more than 200 people signed a petition to keep the land as a green space used by the Bowls Club.
The Fields in Trust charity would be sensitive to the needs of the local community should it need to raise capital: if circumstances changed in the future they would consider the sale of the land as long as the capital was used to enhance the local community by substituting land of equivalent size elsewhere.
The land would still remain in trust with the Reepham Society so it could continue to rent the land to the Bowls Club.
It seemed to those members of the Reepham Society who made the request that this was a win-win situation with everyone benefiting: it could bring money to the Bowls Club, it would still remain in the trust of the Society and it would be respecting the historical reason for its purchase in the 1980s.
As the person who negotiated the sale of the land by the brewery who owned it said: “It [the land] was purchased as an amenity for the people of Reepham, to prevent unwanted development and maintain an open green space in the town. Please do not forget why the [Reepham] Society was formed in the first place.”
What are you views on the bowling green? Should it become a Field in Trust? Please contact Reepham Life with your comments.

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