At Thursday’s council meeting, Phil Challis (Liberal Democrat Councillor for Loddon ward) asked a question that pointed out the apparent change in Wokingham Borough Council’s approach to community clubs using publicly owned land. Councillor Challis’ question related to the recent leasing of part of the banks of the River Loddon to the Southlake Angling Society by the Council.
Phil Challis said: ‘Communities are becoming increasingly dependent on clubs and societies to provide affordable services as public funding is reduced. I believe it is important for both residents and clubs to feel that the council has a consistent approach to community clubs using publicly owned land – otherwise the impression will be that the council is making it up as it goes along.
‘It is quite clear to me that the council has no policy. First, they complain that Hurst Golf Course and the Black Swan Sailing Club at Dinton Pastures had privileged access to publicly owned land, and then they give exclusive – not just privileged – access to fishing rights on the River Loddon.’