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Welford Playing Field Closure – WPC letter to school

Subject: Childrens play area closure – Urgent action requested
Date: 27 May 2024

To: Welford on Avon School, Welford on Avon School Head Teacher
Cc: Welford on Avon Parish Councillors and Clerk, Warwickshire County Councillor, Stratford upon Avon District Councillor, Warwickshire County Council Officers

Without prejudice

We write in response to the outrage being expressed by village residents and parents in the last couple of days and to your letter of the 24th May.

On behalf of the residents of Welford on Avon we request the immediate unlocking of the playing field gate on Headland Road.

The correspondence received from yourselves on Friday of last week suggests that the decision to lock the gate is due to your perceived obligations to Safeguard children at all times.

However, the timing of your decision to notify parents at exactly 5pm, on the first day of the May half term holiday, together with the lack of communication, prior to your action, with either the Parish Council or with wider village public, now places younger members of our community at risk.

The children of Welford on Avon deserve better and are not safer due to your actions. Without warning, a well-established safe space has been removed by you as Governors of Welford on Avon Primary School. This unilateral decision by the Governing Body is both overreaching and unhelpful in maintaining a relationship with the community you serve and has directly impacted the Parish council’s ability to mitigate your actions.

Your letter to WCC (copied in to the Parish Council) asking that they serve notice on the Parish Council’s License to Occupy the playing field openly recognises that the license does indeed exist.

Additionally we note that the Governors have specifically chosen to direct children and parents to alternative locations, namely Cress Hill and Synder Meadow. This we consider to be beyond the remit of the Governing Body and an irresponsible act. Today children were playing football on the Maypole Green next to the busy High Street, a very unsafe area to play !

As we have recently stated, the Parish Council are ready and willing to discuss this matter in person and find a mutually agreeable solution.

Whilst the email received from your Business Manager states the school is now on half term and will return Monday 3rd June, this does not prevent the Governing Body from unlocking the gate and responding during this period. Given that this is a child safety matter, you will understand the urgency of our request.

Kind regards
Simon Carter
Chairman, on behalf of Welford on Avon Parish Council and the Welford community.

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