Scout leaders call on parish council to rethink plans to rejig a popular Kibworth park

Local councillor Kevin Feltham is insisting they are working alongside the scouts as well as the entire community as he labelled the contentious issue a “storm in a teacup”

Monday, 4th October 2021, 4:21 pm
Updated Monday, 4th October 2021, 4:22 pm
Kibworth Scout Group protest on the Smeeton Road recreation field PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Scout leaders are calling on parish council chiefs to rethink plans to rejig a popular park in Kibworth Beauchamp.

The 1st Kibworth Scout Group, which represents about 160 youngsters, is urging the village’s two parish councils to take a fresh look at their scheme to redesign Smeeton Road Recreation Ground.

But local councillor Kevin Feltham is insisting they are working alongside the scouts as well as the entire community as he labelled the contentious issue a “storm in a teacup”.

Sam Arnold, the group leader of the 1st Kibworth scouts, said they attended a public consultation staged by the village’s joint recreation board late last month, adding: “Particularly concerning to us are plans to drastically redesign the Smeeton Road recreation field (located behind the scout hut, with the tennis courts on).

“For the provision of scouting and guiding in the Kibworths, the current plan will seriously impede scouting and guiding activities.

“It will mean we will no longer have a large, safe and open free space for our young people to use close to the Scouts and Guides HQ.

“We are in full support of the council making improvements.

“We understand the park has few facilities for members of the community other than a kick wall and goalposts and adding facilities to the park would make it a more inclusive space for the community.

“However, we feel the design takes away the main important use of the park (the large open space that can be adapted for any activity or use) as currently the plan gives use of a very large space (most of the park) for the installation of only eight adult exercise machines and some windy paths,” said Sam.

“We would like the council to consider a plan that can accommodate all of the extra additions but also some more space for large groups to use.

“All of our beavers, cubs and scouts have been learning about the councils’ plans and have been designing their own plan of a park.

“They thought about things that they would like to see but also what might be appreciated and useful for other members of the community of all ages.

“By identifying and involving themselves in a local project, taking action by drawing their own plan and sharing them with the council, working in teams and reviewing what they have learnt during the process and helping other people understand the project, they will all achieve the community awareness badge and learn valuable skills for life integrating in their community.”

Cllr Kevin Feltham is helping to drive through the bold blueprint to rework the village’s public open spaces as he sits on both Kibworth Beauchamp and Kibworth Harcourt parish councils as well as the county council.

“This really is a storm in a teacup.

“Our very talented scouts have drawn 20 or 30 brilliant pictures of how they’d like Smeeton Road rec to be – and we are studying all of those.

“We’ve not said no to this or no to that to anyone, including our friends the scouts,” declared Cllr Feltham.

“We are leaving almost all of this fantastic park to be green grass anyway.

“We are working hand in hand with the scouts as well as our whole community as we go ahead with our scheme to reshape and replan our open spaces here.

“We are only at the design stage – and nothing has been cast in stone, not a thing.

“And we simply don’t have the money to buy rowing machines or adult exercise machines for Smeeton Road rec yet anyway.

“That could still be a few years away,” stressed Cllr Feltham.

“Meanwhile, we’ll continue to work closely with the scouts as well as all our villagers so that we can create the best parks that we can in the Kibworths.”