Council votes to charge organisers of free park run

A parish council in South Gloucestershire is to become the first in the UK to charge a group to use one of its parks for a weekend fun run.

Hundreds take part in two free, timed runs organised by Parkrun UK in Little Stoke Park near Bristol. Now, the group is being asked for money to help maintain the paths.

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Stoke Gifford Parish Council defends park run charge

Stoke Gifford Parish Council who have caused outrage around the country by voting to charge organisers of a weekly fun run have firmly defended their decision.

Speaking to ITV News, council chairman Ernie Brown from Stoke Gifford Parish Council said that the decision was "very difficult" but essential for maintaining the park for everyone.

They should contribute towards the upkeep of the park. No different to the football club, cricket club, tennis club... they all hire our facilities, why should any organisation be free of charge?

– Ernie Brown, Stoke Gifford Parish Council
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councillors voting for and against the charge

Parkrun UK have said they will have to close the weekend runs at Little Stoke Park near Bristol - but the parish said they have left them with many options.

Mr Brown said the organisation can apply for the grant and the Council "have even offered to fill out the form on their behalf".

If you joined any other running group you would be charged a fee.

– Ernie Brown

Around 300 runners take part in the 2km and 5km timed runs every weekend - numbers which Mr Brown said have contributed to the wear and tear of the park's paths.

They say it is "becoming a safety issue" - and with a £20,000 repair bill, they have to make ends meet:

You can watch the full interview below:

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