Lace Hill Sports Pitches and Dog Walking

Keep Dogs Off the Pitches poster

We welcome everyone at Lace Hill Sports Pitches, this is a communal space that we want all residents to be able to enjoy. Buckingham's parks are one of its best assets and the Council works hard to maintain them and to create green spaces that work for everyone, including those exercising and dog walkers.

At the moment the Council is reviewing how best to ensure that everyone can enjoy the Lace Hill playing fields, and below are some of the most common questions that have been raised.

The playing fields at Lace Hill were paid for by section 106 funds, this is money that developers must pay when they build large numbers of houses to improve the infrastructure of an area.

The funding was for two sports pitches associated with the Sports Centre and the school. In the first stages of the housing at Lace Hill being built there may not have been sports teams visibly using the space, but several sports clubs now hire the space to use for training and official match games.

Buckingham Town Council took over the Lace Hill Sports & Community Centre and the playing fields from the developer in 2016. This means that the cost of maintaining the Centre and the Fields comes out the Council Tax paid by everyone in Buckingham and not just members of Lace Hill.

The housing maintenance fee paid separately by Lace Hill residents does not cover the Lace Hill Sports & Community Centre or the pitches.

In 2019, Buckingham United Football Club made an agreement with the Town Council that they would take over the maintenance of the sports pitches themselves. This means that they can maintain them to a higher standard without any extra cost to tax payers. As part of this agreement they also put up fencing around one of the pitches, which will be removed at the end of each season.

Other sports clubs also use the fields for training sessions and official match games, and pay a hire cost which contributes towards the cost of the maintenance of the area.

The playing fields are used by several sports teams for training and official match games, including by children learning how to play football, rugby and other field sports.

There have been repeated incidents where the presence of out of control dogs have put children in danger:

  • Owners have allowed their dogs to foul on the pitches and not cleared it up, which is a significant risk to children as dog poo contains harmful parasites that can make children unwell, and in severe cases can cause blindness.
  • Recently, owners have thrown balls for their dogs into the unfenced pitch area while children are training. This is an obviously unsafe thing to do, causing a serious risk of harm to both the children and dogs.
  • Unsupervised dogs have also run into the children's play area.

The well being of everyone who uses the playing fields is important, and the Council cannot ignore the risk currently being posed to children from dogs whose owners are not keeping their dogs under control.

Yes you can, but dogs must be kept under control and walked responsibly.

  • Always clear up after your dog, even if there is no one around. There are dog poo bins at the playing fields.
  • Keep your dog off the sports pitches.
  • Keep your dog under control, if the pitches are in use your dog should be on a lead.
  • Consider using other park spaces if you want to spend time with your dog off lead.

This is because the unfenced area is still a sports pitch. In fact, this is the pitch most commonly used by children training, who are particularly at risk from out of control dogs.

If there are continued issues with dogs in this area the Council will have to consider firmer action.

Town Council opposes use of public money to fund commercial soft-play at the Swan Pool

On Monday 30th September 2019 Buckingham Town Councillors discussed a proposal from Aylesbury Vale District Council to use S106 funds (Developer contributions) for the installation of a soft play facility at the Swan Pool.  The proposal was to use £58,800 to fully fund the installation of the equipment, along with air conditioning and a new floor.

Town Councillors highlighted that the proceeds from the sale of the climbing wall were not being used to offset the cost of the new installation.  Councillors expressed discomfort with S106 funds being used to provide facilities for a commercial provider, particularly where this will fund the setup of a service which will compete with an established local business.  Councillors did not feel that the sufficient market research had been carried out to evidence demand for the service proposed.  Members also highlighted that the Town Council is still waiting for the District Council to upgrade the Skate Park and also for action on a BMX track.

Town Councillors will review their “wish-list” of preferred schemes to be funded later this year.

This is yet another example of AVDC deciding for Buckingham what it thinks it wants,” says Cllr Mark Cole JP, Mayor of Buckingham. “We have for years been putting our Section 106 contributions wish list before AVDC, with the BMX track – which would be on public land and free-of-charge to users – at the top of the urgent priorities. We cannot therefore support this money being allocated to a commercial business facility for which users would be charged.”