On the 24th of July Cotham School removed two very old signs belonging to the Council and erected three new signs at Stoke Lodge without consent, planning or consultation with the community or the landowner, Bristol City Council.
Apologies for the poor quality photo ! The sign says:
COTHAM SCHOOL PLAYING FIELD.
MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC ARE WARNED NOT TO TRESPASS ON THIS PLAYING FIELD.
In particular the exercising of dogs or horses, parking vehicles, flying model aircraft/drones, playing golf, the use of motorcycles and the carrying on of any activity which causes or permits nuisance or disturbance to the annoyance of persons lawfully using the playing field will render the offender liable to prosecution for an offence under Section 547 of the Education Act (1996).
Requests for authorised use should be directed to Cotham School.
Cotham School accepts no liability to users for any unauthorised use of the playing field.
An enforcement case was opened by the council. Their initial response is that two of the three signs are allowed under ‘deemed consent’. We do not agree with their interpretation or definition and continue to communicate with the council about this.
We have all focused hard on the reasons why we object to Cotham's signs, and some of the statements that have been made are really moving.
If you are a Cotham parent or pupil wondering what's going on, please know that Stoke Lodge is a place people go to for sport, for leisure, to regain mental strength, to heal from injuries, to grieve, to celebrate, to learn to ride bikes, to learn to fly kites, to talk, to laugh, to live. Please know that when your school took a lease to use this site for sports, it never raised any objection to the fact that the lease is subject to 'all existing rights and use, including use by the community'. And so for your children's school to spend its limited resources on putting up signs that are wildly inaccurate and also threatening to the community seems very wrong to us, and we object. Strongly and in numbers.
But we don't object at all to your children playing sports here - we'd love to see the pitches back in use. We'd love to see Cotham students enjoying this beautiful green space. Your school leaders are dedicating yet more resources to fighting the community instead of using that money for more important things. They are ignoring the offer we've made to work with the school (including applying for additional funding to help improve facilities for everyone). When they tell you school budgets are tight - please remind them of that.