Statement from Lympstone Parish Council – 8th October 2021

Lympstone Parish Council (LPC) and Lympstone Football Club (LFC) have a signed annual agreed contract which must be adhered to for all parties involved.

It must be noted that Cliff Field is owned by the National Trust and managed by the Parish Council for the use of the public.  Candy’s Field is owned by the Parish Council for the use of the public.    Both fields are shared spaces for the community to walk and play.  Families, dog walkers, clubs, primary and pre-school children, and community events are all welcome (children’s play amenities are also provided in Candys Field).  The Parish Council must be aware of timetabling the fields and its users carefully and meticulously to ensure everyone is kept safe and the field is not overused in parts.  All football pitches are not sport pitches; they remain a public area as part of the community space. Although please note that Cliff Field was sown with a harder wearing grass seed mixture so that it could stand more use than Candy’s Field.

LPC is not stopping children playing ball games including football.

Both fields and their uses are constantly monitored by the PC for everyone’s enjoyment, health and safety.  A breach of contract by LFC using Candys Field has caused the PC to terminate the contract with the permitted one month’s notice.  The contract for Cliff field is being monitored and adhered to.

LPC is not required to provide a football pitch on any of the land it owns or manages but provided free of charge the use of Candys Field (owned by LPC) and a small annual charge of £50 for storage on Cliff Field (owned by the National Trust and managed by the PC) to LFC.

The agreed contract made it clear that the fields were not for the exclusive use of LFC.  LFC agreed to: limited use of these spaces so the pitches were not overused and could recover, no play during wet weather, remove and store temporary goal posts, remove permanent goal posts entirely and the grass on pitches to be cut no less than 3 inches.  LPC offered to cut and maintain the pitches on behalf of LFC at a pro-rata rate and this was not agreed by LFC.  Regrettably the management of LFC breached these usage times, terms and conditions.  It must be noted that LPC are allowing LFC to continue to currently play on Candy’s Field as LFC have still not finalised any play on Astro Turf pitches for their winter season yet.

LFCs maintenance of the pitches was cutting the grass on the pitches shorter than 3inches regularly.  A weedkiller was sprayed over the pitches with no safety warnings for members of the public.  Little soil has been used to level the dips and ditches formed on the pitches.  Grass seed used has not germinated.  Therefore, the pitches are currently dangerous to play on.

Since June 2021, on numerous occasions, LPC has highlighted their concerns to the management of LFC and tried to negotiate and compromise by providing further two temporary pitches to accommodate the young children to continue playing and allow the original football pitches to rest and recover.   LFC management agreed to take the necessary actions requested by LPC and not one has been fulfilled by LFC.  LPC would like members of the football club and the public to ask LFC management why the agreed contract was not adhered to.

This issue was item 21/101 on the agenda for the LPC meeting 4th Oct 2021 and following reports and discussion there was a unanimous vote to terminate the LFC use of Candys Field for the continued breach of contract and monitor LFC’s continued use of Cliff Field to ensure the contract there is being adhered to. NB: LFC were itemised on this agenda which was publicly advertised in the legally required time limit on six noticeboards around the Parish and online at Lympstone website.

The recent LFC Chairman’s libellous comments on social media have not been constructive and uncontrollably escalated.  They have stirred hatred and unnecessary upset to everyone passionate about helping the youth without presenting the full facts.  Lympstone Parish Councillors work tirelessly and voluntarily to serve the community and provide the best for every single member of the public both young and old.  Members of the PC are real people, they live amongst you and should not feel threatened and intimidated by their neighbours and community using this behind door platform.  The PC is made up of a variety of ages, some members have young children who also enjoy and benefit from attending organised sports.  The PC do not take any decision lightly, the council is a body, and no individual should feel a target of animosity.  LPC are always open, honest, transparent, and approachable.

The PC have allocated a staggering £20,000 towards the refurbishment of the play area and working with the Friends of Lympstone Open Spaces has fundraised with the support of the community. Additional meetings with EDDC’s funding officer and the public consultation has hopefully helped to secure further funding.

Every month the PC holds a public meeting.  Lympstone has a pro-active public attendance.  The agendas are posted publicly in advance of the meeting for people to view what will be discussed.  The public are welcomed to attend, express opinions, ask questions and listen.

Lympstone Parish Council