We have had a further meeting with the organisers of Pub in The Park and have considered the wider aspects of the event. In particular we want to be certain the event would comply with all regulatory requirements.
The Heath is designated Common Land, a status that confers the right of public access. We consulted Natural England with regard to the Common Land issues and, separately, those FoTH Committee members who are Town Councillors instigated a legal investigation by Knutsford Town Council.
From what we have learned it is clear that it would be illegal to fence off part of The Heath (even temporarily) and prevent access to that part by the general public. We understand that it could be legal only if consent for the public access restriction were to be given by the UK Government.
This has been confirmed by the Open Spaces Society, a conservation group long respected for its work protecting Britain’s open spaces. They have censured the proposal and stated that the organisers should seek the consent of the Secretary of State to hold the event.
Unless the organisers obtain such consent, Friends of The Heath must object to the event taking place on The Heath.
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We hosted our second annual birdwatching event on Sunday 28th January, as part of the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch weekend. Experts from the Knutsford Ornithological Society led enthusiastic amateur birdwatchers for an hour, following on from a similar event the day before on the Moor, organised by Friends of The Moor.
Twenty-one different species were seen, two more than last year. Highlights were the sound and sight of the Great Spotted Woodpecker, three buzzards wheeling overhead, and the sight of both nuthatch and treecreeper at one time. Badger fur in the woods from our resident badgers was welcomed as good nesting material, and the sun shone, reminding us that spring is coming.
We all enjoyed well-earned Penguin biscuits and drinks at the end of the hour.
The complete list with the number of individuals seen was as follows:
- Blackheaded Gull – 2
- Blackbird – 2
- Blue Tit – 4
- Buzzard – 3
- Carrion Crow – 2
- Chaffinch – 4
- Collared Dove – 1
- Feral Pigeon – 2
- Goldcrest – 1
- Goldfinch – 1
- Great Spotted Woodpecker – 1
- Great Tit – 3
- Jackdaw – 4
- Longtailed Tit – 3
- Magpie – 6
- Nuthatch – 1
- Robin – 1
- Song Thrush – 1
- Treecreeper – 1
- Wood Pigeon – 4
- Wren – 1
Sunday 28th January 11am-12pm
This year, for the second time, we’ll be taking part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. We’re coordinating with Friends of the Moor (FotM) and the Knutsford Ornithological Society (KOS) in a pan-Knutsford event. FotM are holding their session on the Moor on Saturday and we’re holding ours on The Heath on Sunday. Both sessions will be supervised by KOS.
It’s an important national event that shows the state of our UK bird population year on year. We hope you will come and join us and do your bit for wildlife conservation.
Meet: at the interpretation board in the Nature Reserve at 11:00 am.
We have seen and heard mixed views on whether Pub in the Park should be welcomed. Some people think it is a fantastic idea while others are concerned about negative aspects such as:
- Damage to The Heath
- Traffic congestion
- Disturbance of the local residents
- Preventing public access to Common Land
- Using The Heath for commercial gain
We have met with Brand Events (the organisers) and they have assured us that they will take special care of The Heath and they will have a park and ride system to minimise traffic congestion. Reassured by their expression of care and trusting they will address the other concerns raised, Friends of The Heath are not objecting to Pub in the Park.
However, we have objected to the application for an annual premises licence. In our view the licence should be applicable to a single specific event. Given the novel nature of the event, its actual impact must be assessed before granting a licence for any subsequent event.
Friends of The Heath have been informed of a proposal for a three-day event called “Pub in the Park” to be held on The Heath in September 2018. While we welcome the use of The Heath for events that benefit Knutsford we are concerned about the immediate and long-term damage that it may be caused to The Heath. We will liaise with the event organisers, Brand Events, to assess the likely impact of “Pub in the Park” and to seek mitigation.
The Friends of The Heath are holding their Annual General Meeting at 8.00 pm on Thursday 23th November in the Little Theatre, Queen Street. All residents of Knutsford are invited to attend.
The agenda is here:
If you wish to join the committee, let one of the existing committee members know or contact us here.
After the meeting, which is expected to last for no more than an hour, the bar will be open for anyone wishing to stay longer to socialise. The Little Theatre has asked that you use the public car park on Tatton Street in order to minimise congestion in Queen Street.