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Parkrun to challenge council's plan to charge for parks

Thousands have signed a petition against the fee for Parkrun. Credit: Claire Hayhurst / PA Wire/PA Images

Parkrun organisers will appeal against Stoke Gifford Parish Council's decision to charge for use of its facilities.

The plan to introduce a levy for the organisation to use parks has prompted a fierce backlash with more than 37,000 people signing a Change.org petition in protest.

In a statement, Parkrun said it intended to appeal against the decision and was "investigating whether there is a legal basis to do so".

As we look towards opening our 1,000th location later this year it is clear that a per-event or per-runner charge simply would not be sustainable and would threaten our free-to-participate ethos.

By agreeing to a charge in relation to use of the land at Little Stoke Park we would be establishing a precedent that would put the future of Parkrun at risk.

– Chief Operating Officer for Parkrun, Tom Williams

Meanwhile Saturday's Little Stoke Parkrun has been cancelled due to fears safety may be "jeopardised" by the number of supporters planning to attend.

A statement posted online said: "The safety and well-being of parkrunners and other park users is paramount and we are very concerned that this might be jeopardised by the volume of people wishing to run at Little Stoke on Saturday.

"This could easily exceed the safe limit of the park itself."

Council under fire over Parkrun charge decision

Stoke Gifford Parish Council has been heavily criticised for its decision to charge Parkrun organisers for using its facilities.

More than 30,000 people have signed a Change.org petition against the fee and leading British athletes including Paula Radcliffe and Jo Pavey have also condemned the move.

But the council has defended the charge, describing Parkrun as an organisation with paid directors and staff - meaning it should contribute towards upkeep for its parks.

ITV News' Rupert Evelyn reports:

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