A PROPOSAL to charge groups for the use of council-owned land has been given the green light.

At a Whitchurch Town Council leisure and environment committee meeting on Monday, councillors agreed to introduce a ‘£1 per head’ charge for commercial organisations looking to use its recreation grounds in Alliston Way.

A second motion, suggesting a formal policy regarding council-owned land use, was also passed.

Councillor John Buckley, who proposed both motions, suggested that the income generated by the £1 per head charge “could be used for the grants fund which we can then give out to others.”

The income will not be used to pay for any damage potentially being caused by groups using the land.

Those costs will remain separate, with commercial organisations using the space required to agree to cover the cost of any damage to the land. Repairs will then be carried out by the council’s designated contractor.

Such agreements are likely to be outlined in the formal policy that was earlier approved at the meeting.

Cllr Buckley said: “If we had a firm policy with events on council land that would include things like damage waivers and cancellation charges and things like that.”

Cllr Fiona Nicolson added: “It’s the same thing as if you rent a hall. If you pay a deposit you don’t get your deposit back.”

Whitchurch Town Council has allowed a number of groups to use its land for free in recent years, such as the upcoming silent cinema screening and last June’s 10k run event.

The council’s financial accounts show that its recreation grounds generated no income last year, while the maintenance of the spaces at Kingsley Park and Alliston Way cost more than £11,000.