The family of the late Lord and Lady Wardington has gifted the ownership of the Cricket Ground to the Trustees* of Wardington Memorial Hall with immediate effect. In practice all the village community facilities, the Memorial Hall, the Cricket Ground and the Children’s Playground, will now have common ownership. However each of the current or future user organisations will continue to manage their activities independently.
Some fifty years ago Lord Wardington made an unwritten agreement whereby Wardington Cricket Club may have continued use of the Cricket Ground so long as cricket continued to be played there. A condition included in the transfer effectively continues that agreement in perpetuity by stating that the owners of the Cricket Ground may not permit the property to be “used for any purpose other than sporting or recreational activities or for purposes for the benefit of the inhabitants of the village of Wardington”. For the avoidance of doubt the Cricket Ground may not be sold for the purpose of housing development or similar.
It is the intention of the Memorial Hall Trustees to grant Wardington Cricket Club a term lease which will provide the Club with some legally binding security of tenure – at present the Club has no such security. Additionally the lease of the Children’s Playground area to the Parish Council will continue until the end of its term in 2026 when the Trustees’ intention is to renew it on similar terms.
With the increased use of the Memorial Hall in recent years, the Trustees have been concerned about the inevitable increase in car parking along Mount Pleasant and around the Greensward junction. The new overall ownership of the Cricket Ground will provide the opportunity for a more formal car parking area for Memorial Hall users.
Clive Hunt, chairman of the Memorial Hall Trustees, commented: “We are hugely indebted to the Wardington family for their generosity in making this all possible in the same way as we were to Lady Wardington in respect of her very significant donation towards the refurbishment of the hall in 2012”.
* Clive Hunt, Forbes Elworthy (retires 14 May 2021), Anne Wilkins