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Update on Werrington Fields

22 March 2024

Following a meeting yesterday (Thursday 21 March) the council would like to issue an update on Werrington Fields. 

The meeting involved the council and the Four Cs Multi Academy Trust, which is responsible for the land and has the final decision on the area to be fenced.

Leader of Peterborough City Council, Councillor Mohammed Farooq, said: "Discussions around Werrington Fields have been ongoing for a number of years and therefore since taking charge of the council I have been working with officers to reach a way forward as quickly as possible. This is why I paused the process in February to allow us to develop a full understanding.

“As a new administration we have taken a lot of time to understand the legacy of decision making and responsibility around Werrington Fields and have had to work back to 2019 when discussions first started. The school became an academy on 1 September 2023 and subsequently the education land was transferred to the academy at the same time. As a new administration we took charge on 1 November, and since then we have been working frantically to get to the bottom of years of indecision.

"We understand the frustration from some members of the local community who currently use this area, whilst at the same time fully appreciate the needs of the school to make sure its pupils are safe and have access to the outdoor space required to deliver the curriculum.

"Yesterday we met with the academy trust to understand their plans for the area of the field designated as education land. As leaseholders of the land, it is ultimately a decision for the academy.

"The academy trust has confirmed to us that it intends to proceed with the fencing of the entire area designated as education land. This is approximately one third of the open space available at Werrington Fields and the remainder of which will remain open and available for the community.

"In addition, the trust is supportive of a Community Use Agreement to allow the community to use the area outside of school hours to support year-round organised community sporting activities in a safe and controlled environment.

"Our overriding concern must be the safety of children and for this reason the council supports the decision of the academy trust.

"We will now work with the academy on the submission of a planning application to change the permitted use of the field from educational land with open access to educational land with restricted public use. The planning application will also include arrangements for a Community Use Agreement as the academy has always supported the best use of the fields outside of school hours."

Mike Sandeman, CEO of the Four Cs Multi Academy Trust, said: “All effective secondary schools require students to study a wide variety of subjects across multiple different learning environments. A large proportion of that learning takes place in a classroom. To be able to offer a curriculum that stretches and challenges all young people, some of that learning also needs to occur outside.

“In all schools, safeguarding remains the number one priority. Being able to offer the essential balance of learning environments requires appropriate risk management. As Ken Stimpson Academy is unable to safeguard the fields, the educational experiences of all students have been severely impacted and narrowed.”