New protection for town’s park in Polegate

Polegate memorial field
Polegate memorial field

A special event to celebrate Polegate memorial ground’s new protection from development is to be held in the town.

Lord Lieutenant Peter Field will unveil a new entrance sign to the War Memorial Recreational Ground on Wannock Road, after it was made a Centenary Field by charity Fields in Trust - Polegate is the first town in the UK to achieve this status.

The initiative led by Fields in Trust aims to protect war memorial playing fields, parks and green spaces created in memory of people who lost their lives in the First World War, and create a living legacy.

Polegate Town Council applied to join the trust, and this was granted, meaning the playfield will now be protected in perpetuity.

A spokesman for Polegate Town Council said: “In 1925 King George V instituted the National Playing Fields Association. The latest incarnation is Field in Trust, of which his great-great grandson, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge is president. The Royal British Legion are partners with the Trust in this venture.

“Whilst the aim is to persuade landowners to give fields as recreational space in perpetuity in remembrance of the millions of people who died in the Great War of 1914 to 1918, Polegate is fortunate to already have such a ground in Wannock Road which was donated to the then village shortly after the war. There is just one problem at present and that is that developers can in theory apply to develop such land whether they own it or not and this has happened three times at least in the last year or so when village greens have been allowed to be built on, despite all the opposition and refusal of planning consent, and being turned down at appeal, by the express overriding consent of the Secretary of State. A group in the town known as KORGI tried to obtain village green status a few years ago to protect the land but this was unsuccessful.

“This new initiative will secure the future. Polegate Town Council made an early application to the trust and this has now been approved and the Deed of Dedication has now been duly signed by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor. To celebrate the occasion, a special event is to be held on October 31 when the Lord Lieutenant Peter Field will formally unveil a new entrance sign to the field. A trustee of the scheme will be in attendance together with local prominent members of the community, including relatives of those who originally gifted the land to Polegate.”

The spokesman added that Polegate is particularly privileged that it is the first town in the UK to achieve this status. Coventry, as a city, was the absolute first. All are welcome to attend the event on October 31 which starts at 10.30am.