Land was left to council as children’s play area

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Editor – In view of recent letters in the Mail about the Bell Playground, it might be useful to explain its history and legal status.

The playground was created in the late 1950s under the terms of the will of a Miss Proctor, a Rasen resident who was concerned at the lack of places for children to play within the town.

She left a sum of money to the then Market Rasen Urban District Council with which it was to purchase and equip a playing field specifically for the use of the children of the town, and to keep it in trust thereafter for that purpose.

Under the terms of the trust, the playground was to be named in memory of Miss Bell, who had been a long-serving and much-loved school teacher in the town.

It is thus incorrect to describe the Bell Playground as a park with a children’s play area in it; the whole ground is dedicated as a children’s playground, whether as slides and swings etc, or open areas for the playing of ball games and so on.

If I remember correctly, the age specified in the trust is 12 years and under.

Of course, it’s certainly true that in practice the playground gets used in many other ways, some of them positive and compatible with a children’s playground, but many others anti-social or criminal, such as rowdiness by youths and the frequent criminal damage to the equipment. But, legally, it is a children’s playground – pure and simple.

Chris Padley

Town councillor