Parish council says residents 'overwhelmingly' objected to women's side using Aylesbury village football team's grounds

Some residents have questioned the validity of the council’s consultation process
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A parish council has claimed residents were ‘overwhelmingly against’ a women’s side using its village football team’s pitch.

Oving Parish Council rejected plans for a newly-launched Oving Ladies Football Team to play on the village’s recreation ground when the next football season starts in September.

In a statement, the council said residents were concerned about losing access to the park on Sundays, when the games would be played, and also had noise concerns and apprehensions around parking.

Oving Recreation GroundOving Recreation Ground
Oving Recreation Ground

Oving Football Club, which did not respond to requests for comment, said it respected the council’s decision, despite being disappointed with the outcome. The club said it still intended to get a women’s team up-and-running in time for the 2024/25 season.

Some residents have called the parish council’s decision “sexist and archaic”.

Oving Parish Council rejects this claim, stating it was against allowing any organised sport on the fields on Sundays.

One couple, David and Rachel Barnett, also questioned how the council reached its verdict. David and Rachel noted that a majority of messages on social media showed support for the local team.

The parish council says residents are concerned about parking availabilityThe parish council says residents are concerned about parking availability
The parish council says residents are concerned about parking availability
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Oving Parish Council advertised the proposal in its newsletter and asked for people to send in responses. When contacted by the Barnetts, council officials said 88 per cent of the 19 written responses were negative, and 17 people objected to the plans at a separate meeting.

However, the parish council refused to clarify how it reached the 88 per cent figure when the Barnetts pointed out the council’s maths was inaccurate. When questioned by The Bucks Herald, the council did admit there was some overlap between the people who objected at the meeting and those who sent in letters. Oving Parish Council also listed six negative responses over the phone.

But, the council declined to disclose how many people supported and objected to the proposals. Instead just saying it represented a “historic” response for the village, which recorded a population of just 534 people in the most recent census.

Another area of contention is who can use this open playing space. Oving Parish Council was donated the rec in 1927 by Henry Yates Thompson who said it is “to be used exclusively and in perpetuity for the benefit and enjoyment of the people of Oving.”

Oving Parish Council said: “The Rec is primarily for the benefit of the villagers of Oving which of course the OPC must take into account whilst balancing the competing demands of modern day requirements and wishes.

“For clarity there is no clause in the deed which specifically rules out sport on a Sunday – however some of our residents believe this was a verbal request by the benefactor.”

The Barnetts labelled the ruling “archaic”, and noted that it would be impossible to police whether the regular dog walkers and tennis players at the site live in the village or not.

Oving is also known for its organised football, it still hosts the he Oving Village Cup Competition, which started in 1889, and is believed to be one of the longest running competition’s of its kind.

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