CORWEN WAR MEMORIAL PARK
There has been quite a lot of speculation recently regarding Corwen’s War Memorial Park so the Town
Council are issuing this statement to clarify what has been taking place and why certain decisions have had
to be taken.
History of the War Memorial Park
Corwen War Memorial Park was established by way of a charitable endowment in 1931 and was conveyed
to Corwen Parish Council to hold in trust in perpetuity as a war memorial. Since its creation, the park has
been managed directly by the Parish / Community Council and also via a management committee, the
Corwen War Memorial Park Recreation Committee. This committee experienced financial difficulties in
2018/19 and a new organisation, the Corwen War Memorial Park Recreation Committee Charity was
created in 2020 – mainly to limit the financial liability of members of the management committee. When
the new organisation was established, it was thought that the affairs of the original War Memorial Park
Recreation Committee could be simply transferred to the new Charity and that this would take over where
the old Committee left off.
Sadly, this has not turned out to be possible for a number of reasons – largely outside the Council’s control.
The financial position for the War Memorial Park Recreation Committee was not improved by the COVID19
pandemic and the Town Council had to step in to ensure that the park continued to be available for
public use. As part of this process the Council had to review arrangements for managing the park and it
found that there were several areas of concern. The accounts for the Recreation Committee had not been
prepared for two years, various safety inspections had not been undertaken and the Pavilion was in need
of essential work to make it safe for use when it was re-opened. These works included essential work to
the water system which had, for the first time, been assessed in relation to the risk of legionella. There
were multiple recommendations from this and other inspections and the Council has been working
through these and arranging for action to be taken to address them. This is ongoing but is taking time.
Please bear with us.
As part of dealing with the above, the Council wanted to ensure that the legal status of the War Memorial
Park was clear. This had been discussed by the War Memorial Park Recreation Committee and the Council
in the past but still remained uncertain.
The War Memorial Park itself is registered as a charity and until recently the War Memorial Park
Recreation Committee had been preparing its own accounts and submitting these to the Charity
Commission as if it were the charity. There was also a 99 year lease between the Council and the War
Memorial Park Recreation Committee dating from 1995 and it was believed that this was the key
document setting out the responsibilities of the Council and the Committee.
Unfortunately, as the Council learned after taking legal advice, the above position was not correct and this
had implications for the future management of the War Memorial Park. Although the Charity Commission
had clarified the legal status of the park back in 2004 and had advised
that the 99 year lease was void and could have no legal effect, these matters appear to have been
overlooked or ignored. The Council employed specialist legal advisers to review the current position and
they have confirmed that the Council is (and always has been) the sole Charity Trustee for the park and is
legally responsible for it.
As you can imagine this has come as a surprise to the Council and to those Councillors who were
nominated to sit as Trustees on the new War Memorial Park Recreation Committee Charity as there is no
need for a new Charity to limit the financial liability of Trustees – the Council is the park’s sole Charity
In addition to ensuring that out the park and Pavilion are safe to use and sorting out the legal position, the
Council also commissioned an independent review of costs of managing the park in the future. It was
obvious from the physical condition of the Pavilion that very little maintenance had been undertaken since
the building was constructed in 1996. Additionally the shortage of funding and over-reliance on volunteers
has had an impact on the quality and extent of work and inspections to ensure that the park is safe to use.
This is not a criticism of the dedicated and well-meaning volunteers that gave lots of their time to manage
the park in the past – just an honest explanation for why the Council now has to arrange for some of these
matters to be addressed.
The review concluded that more money was required to run the park and ensure that the Pavilion was safe
to use in the long term, not just before it is open again for public use. Some of the past arrangements for
managing the park need to be formalised – including contracts for cleaning, grass cutting and grounds
maintenance, and importantly caretaking / supervising the park and the Pavilion when in use. There is also
a need to formalise historic arrangements for sports clubs who use the park – to reflect the position that
they are users of a public facility along with other individuals and organisations. Again these matters are in
hand but are taking time to resolve so please be patient.
The Council is now the default manager of the park so it is making practical decisions on operational
matters each day. It does however have a big decision to take in the future – whether to continue
managing the park itself or whether it should contract with another organisation to manage the park on its
behalf. Whatever option is chosen, there will still be a need for additional money to be invested in the park
– to ensure it is managed professionally and to address the lack of repairs and maintenance it and the
Pavilion in particular, has suffered over the past 25 years. It is therefore likely that there will be an increase
in the Town Council Precept – the share of Council Tax that is locally determined.
At its meeting on 8th September the Council decided to consult with local residents regarding their ideas
for the park and their views on the options for its future management. This will provide an opportunity for
the Council to explain more about what has happened, what is happening now and why various decisions
have had to be taken. It will also be a great opportunity for local people to tell the Council what they would
like to see taking place at the Park so that the Council can look into sources of funding etc.
Communications from the Council
The Council appreciates that some members of sports clubs who use the park may not have been party to
all of the above information and may not have fully appreciated why the Council is doing what it is. This is
likely to be the case for other members of the public who are less frequent users of the park but still want
to ensure that it is protected as valued local facility.
We are sorry that we could not disclose more about what has been happening until now but in the coming
weeks there is going to be an opportunity for all residents to contribute to the long term success of the
War Memorial Park. When the consultation takes place, be sure to make your views known so that the
Council can take a final decision on the long term future of the park later in the year.
If we can provide answers to specific questions before the consultation exercise we will do so on the Town
Council Website (www.corwentowncouncil.co.uk)
Additionally, if you would like to e mail us with queries we will also reply if we can. Our e-mail address is
Where the information requested or provided is not confidential we will keep a log of ongoing Questions
and Answers and publish this on the website so you can see what other people have asked and what
response we have given. As a first step we will look at the recent postings on Facebook and provide
answers to some of the questions raised by local sports clubs.
Corwen Town Council
17 September 2021
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