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Stoke Gifford Parish Council becomes first in UK to charge runners who use public park

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 13/04/2016

Joggers jog through a public park © Press Association Joggers jog through a public park A parish council has become the first in the UK to charge runners to use one of its parks for a weekend fun run.

About 300 adults and children regularly take part in two free timed runs organised by non-profit organisation parkrun UK in Little Stoke Park, near Bristol, on Saturdays.

But Stoke Gifford Parish Council said it was “unfair” to expect non-running residents to pay for path maintenance.

About 300 adults and children regularly take part in parkrun UK in Little Stoke Park, near Bristol.

And on Tuesday night, councillors voted by a majority to impose a charge for the weekly events.

The council now want to charge £1 per runner to help maintain the paths and counteract the increased wear caused by so many people.

A parkrun ambassador told the BBC: “I am absolutely disappointed and shocked really. I think it seems so obvious that the benefits from Parkrun are enormous and the costs are minimal, if any.

“I’m really shocked the council would not want to support something which is so obviously good for the community.”

Chief Operating Officer for parkrun, Tom Williams, added: "We are extremely disappointed that Stoke Gifford Parish Council has voted to impose a charge at Little Stoke parkrun.

“ parkrun has had unprecedented success in engaging the least active and encouraging them to exercise regularly. Providing free weekly access has been fundamental to this and we are disappointed that this opportunity is to be removed for the residents of Little Stoke."

Stoke Gifford Parish Council has been contacted for comment.

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