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Tweet Thursday 29th June 2017

Running Free, Consultation on preserving the free use of public parks

Below is British Orienteering’s official response to the Running Free consultation on preserving the free use of public parks. Details of the consultation are available here and we encourage any interested parties to submit a response by the 5th July deadline to runconsultation@communities.gsi.gov.uk

Question 1: Do you agree that local authorities should not be able to charge parkrun or parkrun junior for the use of public parks?

British Orienteering agree that local authorities should not be able to charge parkrun or parkrun junior for the use of public parks.

Question 2: Is there any specific activity, in addition to parkrun or junior parkrun, that takes place in a public park, that does not require exclusive use of the park or a part of the park, that should be considered for inclusion in provisions to prevent local authorities charging for that activity, and if so why?

British Orienteering identifies orienteering as an activity that often takes place in a public park, that does not require exclusive access and that should be included in provisions to prevent local authorities charging for the activity. Orienteering offers a range of courses to suit all ages and abilities and provides a low-cost opportunity to participate in sport and physical activity.

In addition, we believe strongly that the principle, outlined in this consultation, to not charge parkrun or junior parkrun for non-exclusive use of the park or part of the park should be extended to all not-for-profit sports clubs. We offer Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) status as a solution to identifying these clubs. Voluntary sports clubs offer a significant benefit to the government's Sporting Future strategy for an active nation through providing a volunteer-led, low-cost opportunity to participate in sport and physical activity.

We encourage the government to consider extending these provisions to other publicly owned areas, for example, woods/forests managed by such bodies as the Forestry Commission.

Question 3: Are there any activities that involve a financial charge to a client or clients by a professional or business, but do not involve exclusive use of a public park or part of the park, that should be considered for inclusion in provisions to prevent local authorities charging for that activity, and if so why?

We offer orienteering as an example of not-for-profit sports clubs who make every effort to keep fees as low as possible but charge to cover the cost of provision including equipment, land access and volunteer expenses. These clubs reinvest any payment back into the sport increasing the opportunities to participate to both members and the public.

It is British Orienteering’s belief that any organisation or professional included in these provisions should be able to clearly demonstrate “not-for-profit” status.

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