Marlborough Common is a statutory Common and was provided as a community resource which should be and is intended to be available to all.
Most of the Common is leased to Marlborough Golf Club, the tennis club and the Rugby Club and these areas are not publicly accessible or available. The area which is available to the wider community is now a fraction of its historical extent .
This limited area is used for all sorts of purposes including the annual circus, bonfires, park run, dog walking and general amenity including picnics, kicking a ball about flying kites etc. This is an easily accessible amenity in the town for people of all ages and mobility and this popular sanctuary is in full public view and provides a safe environment for all.
The Common contains some species rich areas and could and should be managed with biodiversity and ecology in mind by the Town Council who are its the stewards including more tree planting as a minor contribution to reducing climate change.
The proposal for a new rugby pitch will diminish the common to an even greater extent . In addition to the proposal for a new rugby pitch it appears that the Town Council are also proposing even more development on the Common with a new car park and cemetery, which will erode the available area even more.
Each proposal may have some merits, however no one seems to have considered the cumulative impact of these incremental developments.
Whilst Marlborough lies within beautiful countryside and landscapes, almost all the land is privately owned and forms an essential and valuable agricultural area for many thriving agricultural businesses. The public only have access to statutory footpaths and bridleways across this working rural area. Footpaths are narrow, sometimes steep and often muddy, remote and out of public sight and not accessible or safe for the elderly, infirm, families with young children or unaccompanied youngsters and not suitable for kicking a ball about or flying kites etc.
The common is a quiet safe sanctuary for people of all ages and in full public view unlike remote rural paths or the forests and woods, and proposals to privatise more of it requires a public debate with a full environmental and social impact assessment as part of a planning application.
I support more sporting facilities in principle, however the unprecedented growth in the population of Marlborough with ever more housebuilding demonstrates that the town has reached its environmental limits for the needs of existing residents before adding to it.
Perhaps the Neighbourhood Plan will identify a new area for a full range of sports for the existing community.