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Parkrun cancelled after charges is axed entirely

A free parkrun which became the first in the UK to charge participants has become the first in the country to be axed.

Hundreds took part in two free, timed, runs organised by Parkrun UK in Little Stoke Park near Bristol.

They put on a 2km run for children and a 5km route for anyone who wants to take part - and until last month the runs have been free.

But Stoke Gifford Parish Council said it was unfair to expect non-running residents to pay for the upkeep on the paths - voting by a majority in favour of the charge.

They initially proposed a charge of £1 per runner as a maintenance fee, but then voted the volunteer-run organisation should pay.

Now, organisers have said the run - which has been a weekly event at the park since 2012 - will no longer take place.

Announcing the closure parkrun said it was a "disappointing outcome for everyone", adding they had been unable to convince the council "of the true value of the event".

Therefore, as the Council has now revoked our permission to run in Little Stoke Park for free, we have taken the difficult decision to bring things to a conclusion and, for the first time, permanently close one of our free, weekly, timed runs.

– Parkrun
150,000
runners take part in a parkrun each week
900
different parkrun locations

We are all really disappointed that Little Stoke parkrun has found itself in this position.

The past eight months have been a difficult time for the volunteer team as all we have ever wanted to do is run, jog and walk in the park with friends.

We are feeling the huge sense of loss of the community that has built up over three and a half years

– Becky Bushnell, co-Event Director of Little Stoke parkrun

Final Park Run called off over safety concerns

Final Little Stoke Park Run called off over safety concerns Credit: ITV News

The final Little Stoke Park Run has been called off after concerns over safety.

Runners were due to complete the course in South Gloucestershire for the last time this morning.

Last month, Stoke Gifford council said it would start charging the group to use the park becoming the first in the world to do so. But Park Run organisers refused to pay saying the weekly events should be free to all.

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MP defends parish council for charging running group

Credit: ITV News

A West MP has strongly defended the parish council which wants to charge Parkrun for the use of its land near Bristol.

Stoke Gifford parish council was widely criticised for asking the organisers of the free run in Little Stoke park for a contribution towards maintenance. But local MP Jack Lopresti said plans for legislation to stop this happening were "a sledgehammer to crack a nut"

A running statue at Little Stoke park Credit: PA

"I'm not of course against parkrun making profit and paying staff, but I do object to the argument that they should have the right to use Little Stoke Park for free for their organised events which dominate the park when all local organisations have to pay to do so."

– JACK LOPRESTI MP, Filton & Bradley Stoke

Little Stoke park run cancelled

Park Run Credit: ITV News

More than 500 people showed their support for free exercise today by taking part in park run near Bristol.

It follows the cancellation of a similar event because the local authority told runners they'd have to pay to take part.

Little Stoke Parish Council received criticism from around the world for their demand.

Given the huge strength of feeling heard from you directly and seen from a wider audience on social media we have had to consider the implications of this on Saturday's run (16 April). The safety and wellbeing 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.

To that end we will be cancelling the event on Saturday 16th of April.

The Little Stoke parkrun team, the local parkrun ambassadors and parkrun UK will need to consider where we go from this point. At the current time its very unclear but do keep an eye on our website, Facebook and Twitter pages which we'll make sure are updated as soon as we have any more news.

– Little Stoke park run

Becky Bushnell from Little Stoke park run took part in a park run at Ashton Court as the park run at Little Stoke was cancelled.

Parkrun cancel this weekend's event at Little Stoke amid safety fears

This weekend's Parkrun at Little Stoke has been cancelled Credit: ITV News West Country

Organisers of the regular Parkrun at Little Stoke in South Gloucestershire have cancelled this weekend's event on safety grounds. There are fears that huge numbers of people could turn up to express opposition to the decision by Stoke Gifford Parish Council to charge for use of the park.

A statement on the group's website said the huge strength of feeling following the decision meant the park could be overwhelmed.

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South Glos Labour leader criticises parish council over Parkrun charge

The leader of the Labour group on South Gloucestershire Council has criticised Stoke Gifford Parish Council's decision to charge the organisers of Parkrun UK for using a local park. Cllr Pat Rooney pointed out that the two Labour members of the parish council voted against the charge.

Cllr Rooney said: “South Gloucestershire has been thrust into the media spotlight because of this mean-spirited decision by Stoke Gifford Parish Council.

"We need to do more to encourage people willingly to embrace healthier activities, not make it more difficult. Stoke Gifford Tories are responsible for levying a health tax.

" I urge the Conservative leadership in South Gloucestershire to encourage their Stoke Gifford colleagues to reverse this decision, and to make it clear that they don’t want it replicated anywhere else in our district.”

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
6 - 4
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:

Your views: the Little Stoke park run charge

A parish council in South Gloucestershire is to becomethe 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 organisers will be asked to pay to use the facilities, with the money going towards maintaining the paths.

Stoke Gifford Parish Council says that Parkrun are an organised group, and like any other group using the facilities should contribute towards the maintenance. They added that runners puts a lot of strain on the paths, and they've received complaints from locals about people parking on the pavement and grass verges.

Meanwhile athletes such as runner Paula Ratcliffe, as well as the London Marathon, have come out in support of the running group, saying running should be free for all.

But what do you think? It''s certainly got many of you talking on our social media sites today.

I wanted to run that badly I would be happy to pay a reasonable fee

– Trudy Pike, via Facebook

It's absolutely disgusting, the council should embrace the benefits of exercise and the reduction of the drain to the NHS.

– Steve Rendell, via Facebook

Locals are restricted on their activities due to such large numbers turning up all at once and laying out courses etc. The car park must get congested and there's the cost of maintaining facilities such as the toilets and bins etc.

A little bit of money from each attendee would help towards upkeep.

– Tamsin King, Facebook

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