Published: 19 February 2020

Back in 1928 a group of residents in the village got together to examine the feasibility of purchasing some land which could be used as a recreational play area for the village. Having (unsuccessfully) approached Lincolnshire County Council for a grant toward the purchase of the field, the money was subsequently raised by public donation and the field was purchased for about £400. It was officially opened by Lord Yarborough in 1933, and the then playing field committee, in a move to protect the field from ever being sold for development, put the field into trust, with 50% owned by the Committee on behalf of the residents, and 50% owned by Lincolnshire Playing Fields Association.

The Committee held regular fund-raising activities to generate an income which could be used for the provision and maintenance of play equipment. As time went on, the Lincolnshire PFA merged into the national Playing Fields Association, which later became Fields in Trust. This is a charity incorporated by Royal Charter in 1932, and it was awarded the Olympic Cup in 1931 by the International Olympic Committee in recognition of its work in providing Playing Fields in Great Britain. HM The Queen is a patron of Fields in Trust, and the Duke of Cambridge is its current President.

As the individual trustees moved away from the village the Committee decided to approach the Parish Council with a view to it becoming, as a statutory body, the trustee of the Playing Field, and to this day the Parish Council is a trustee of the Playing Field, which it continues to manage on behalf of Fields in Trust. The Parish Council owns the buildings on the playing field, and what used to be Barrow Pavilion is now the home of Barton & District Rugby Union Football Club which leases the building and one rugby pitch from the Parish Council.

From the beginning, dogs have been quite legally banned from using the Playing Field, primarily in the interests of the health of those children, families, and sports people using the field, and a sign was placed on the side of the toilet block accordingly.. It is well documented that dogs’ urine and faeces cause many diseases in humans, many of them with serious, if not fatal consequences. Notwithstanding that a pet dog is man’s best friend, and some folks would rightly argue that they do have healing properties in some cases, they also spread life-threatening conditions which can cause infection by contact, inhalation, or by insects.

It is worth stating that the Playing Field is the only public space in our Parish where dogs are banned.