Glebe Field

The Parish Council signed a 10-year lease on the Glebe Field in 2019, located in the historic Conservation Area around The Street.Glebe 001

We are delighted to be able to ensure that this beautiful space will remain a key green asset for our rural community.  The core aim is that it remains a quiet green open access area where local people can enjoy our natural native heritage. 

The Background

The proposal to lease the Glebe Field was first publicly mooted in 2017 when Thakeham First School, which had hitherto used the field for sports, moved to Rock Road. The decision to go ahead was taken in principle, and heads of terms agreed, in early 2018 and detailed legal terms finalised in 2019.  A summary of the key reasons why the PC has opted to take this lease opportunity is:

  • The Glebe Field has a special historical and cultural status in the Parish – as recognised by its designation as a key Green Space within our Neighbourhood Plan, which was extensively consulted and endorsed by referendum in 2017.  There are no other spaces in the parish where a similar case for protective use of PC funds would be credible.
  • Community benefits of the arrangement will include:
General amenity and environmental benefit – the Parish foresees scope for low-cost management of the field as a wildflower meadow and planting of trees/shrubs to benefit pollinators, to the benefit of the ecology of central Thakeham more widely.  It will remain a quiet green open access area for local people and available for group (e.g. school) visits.

  • Planning-related: the lease secures at least a 10-year period of firm protection against damaging planning proposals, which would otherwise be at risk.  Despite some existing protection via Conservation Area and Green Space (Neighbourhood Plan) status, the national planning framework continues to drift towards weakening of those protections.  Central CofE Church Commissioner decisions frequently lead to glebe lands being sold for housing and other purposes.
  • Consequences of no control: without this arrangement, the Thakeham community would have no say in the Diocese entering into other potentially undesirable tenancy arrangements.  Alternatively, if the field is left untenanted, its maintenance will be at risk which may lead to vandalism and/or chronic difficulties with keeping the existing footpath clear.

Financial provision has already been made for this arrangement, within the current precept level.  The rental costs are stepped over the 10 years: commencing at £500 pa to increase to £750 pa on the third anniversary of the term and further increase to £1000 pa on the sixth anniversary of the term. Maintenance costs will depend on the exact environmental approach to be developed, but will be kept under strict control.