Peterborough City Council and Ken Stimpson Community School want to install a fence around part of Werrington fields for use by the school during term-time and limiting public access outside of those times.
Read more about the background below.
A public meeting was held on Monday 20 September 2021, 6.30pm to 8.30pm, in the Assembly Hall at Ken Stimpson School. The purpose of the meeting was:
- To provide residents and members of the public with the opportunity to hear the rationale underpinning the plans for a fence;
- To listen to views from all parties about the proposals put forward by the city council and the school;
- For the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education, Skills and University to listen to the discussion before a final decision is made; and
- To clarify the decision-making process and timescale.
View the presentation given at the meeting below.
Following a review of further legal advice, we have concluded that the council's Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education, Skills and University, Councillor Lynne Ayres, should recommend in her Cabinet Member Decision Notice that the Council should seek planning permission for a material change of use of that part of Werrington fields which would be enclosed by the fence.
Subject to planning permission being granted and also approval from the Department to Education, the area to be enclosed would be that described as Option 2 in the Background Information Document.
The Cabinet Member Decision Notice will be published on the Council’s website. Following its publication any three Peterborough City Councillors can request a call-in of that decision. They have to do so by midnight of the third day after publication. If the call-in request is upheld, arrangements will then be made to hold a meeting of the Education Scrutiny Committee within 10 working days. That meeting will be held in public.
Find out more about the Council’s Education Organisation Plan which provides information on how the council is responding to the changing demography of the area it serves, including planned housing growth.
Current Update - Section 77 Change of Use
Following legal advice, the education department have sought further advice from the DfE as per the need for a section 77 change of use consent, for part of the playing field to be fenced in, given that the current intention is to fence only part of the land currently designated as playing field.
The DfE have confirmed that the Council need to pursue a section 77 change of use application if part of the existing playing field is proposed to be excluded from the fenced area unless the school still intend to use the unfenced area for playing fields.
The school are clear that they will not be able to use the unfenced area as playing field due to safeguarding concerns and therefore, a section 77 consent for change of use of part of the playing field must be sought, as the school have used the land as playing fields within the last 10 years.
Had the intention been to fence the entirety of the land that has been used as playing fields, the DfE has confirmed that the Council would not need to seek section 77 consent as the land would remain in its entirety as school playing fields.
The Education department has now made a section 77 application to the Secretary of State for consent to change the use of that part of the playing field that will be excluded by the fencing and no longer available for use as school playing field.
Following the outcome of the Section 77 application to the Department for Education, the next steps in the decision-making process will be the publication of the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education, Skills and University, Councillor Lynne Ayres, Cabinet Member Decision Notice.
This will include a recommendation that the Council should seek planning permission for a material change of use of that part of Werrington fields which would be enclosed by the fence from dual use to education use, with public access out of school hours under a Community Use Agreement. This will be subject to the council call in process for decision making.
The decision on whether to approve the planning application and grant approval to enclose that part of Werrington fields would rest with the Council’s Planning Committee.
To deal with the dual use aspect of the playing fields and its use by the public as open space, the Council will also need to advertise its intention to change (appropriate) the use of the land from unrestricted open space to enclosed land for education purposes and consider any objections made. At that stage, anyone with an interest in this project, will have the opportunity to submit comments to the planning application and to the proposal to appropriate the land.
If planning permission is granted and a decision made as regards appropriation, following the end of the consultation period and consideration of any objections received, implementation of the plans to erect the fencing would be dependent on approval from the Council’s Cabinet to fund the cost of purchasing and erecting the fence. If the funding is approved, the Council would then place an order with a company for the materials and associated work. The Council is not under any contractual obligation with a third party currently.
If the Secretary of State does not grant consent to change the use of the area of land outside of the proposed fenced area, the Council will give further consideration as to the extent of the fencing before the application for planning permission for change of use is submitted and the proposed change of use (appropriation) is advertised. It is likely that if the Secretary of State does not grant content, the fencing of the entirety of the area to ensure safeguarding may be the only viable option left. The decision on whether to proceed on that basis will be sought through a Cabinet Member Decision Notice.