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Brentwood Borough Council

FOI 9963

Vehicle discrimination at King Georges Park

Request

On what grounds was my recent request to run a model steam traction engine for a couple of hours on one day refused permission despite it complying to all relevant road traffic act rules and regulations? Why are motor cars, motor bikes, quad bikes, invalid carriages, vans etc. allowed (providing they all comply with relevant road traffic act regs) but a model steam engine not? Is this not victimising a steam engine?

Response

Thank you for your Freedom of Information Request (ref 9963).

When an application comes in to hold an event or to use Council owned land we have to adhere to a procedure put in place by Elected members at formal committees (the meetings the procedure and regulations were discussed and agreed were the Retail, Community and Culture Panels held on 15th November 2011, 8th February 2012, 29th May 2012 and 12th September 2012 - agenda’s and minutes are available for all these meetings on the Councils website for full details.

Once an application is received the officers will look into the viability of the request, who it will effect, does it clash with regular booked sports bookings, is the event/use suitable for the area/land etc., for larger events need to consider whether a bond is required in case of damages etc. The officer will then send the request details and any officer comments to the Chair of Community Panel and Head of Street Scene for a decision under delegated powers. Ward Members are also consulted and asked for their feed back prior to the decision being made.

The decision of whether requested or refused is made by the Elected Members and Head of Street Scene; this decision is then advised to the applicant.

Your request was to run your engine from the Rugby club building along the edge of the fields towards Thorndon and advised that you would travel over or across the football or rugby fields. Alternately you suggested you would travel round the fence which skirts the allotments between top and bottom rugby /football fields avoiding pitches and avoiding the play areas and the gardens and walkways around Hartswood Road end of the site – the land is here has to be considered and any damage likely due to wet conditions.

With later reference on utilizing the driveway - the driveway is not public highway there is no automatic right to use this access way.
Vehicles can access the driveway, but once parked they do not move about. King Georges Park is public open space for pedestrians and not motorized vehicles, therefore as landowners our main concern is for pedestrians. If we allowed this request then we would likely get further similar requests which would likely set a precedent and upset the main users of the park, it could also lead to others believing it is acceptable to bring motorized vehicles into the park for recreational use and this is something we need to avoid.

We certainly are not victimizing against steam engines and hope that you understand our position as Land Owners that our priority is to safeguard the land and to consider the pedestrians being the main users of King Georges Park. A suggestion would be that the staff car park at the Warley Depot is free on Boxing day, so perhaps that could be an option.