SOUTH Wilts Grammar School (SWGS) has owned the running track at the school since 1995 but only took over its management from Wiltshire Council on 1 November 2017. We are responsible for the maintenance of the track and make no profit whatsoever from hiring it out to other organisations or the public. All fees go towards maintenance of the track.

It is important that we have agreements in place to govern the use of our facilities by others to avoid invalidating SWGS’s insurance and to safeguard our pupils. In October this year, after months of discussions, SWGS and the running club agreed that the club would enter into an agreement for use of the school’s running track at the very reasonable fee of £200 per month. Last week, and without warning, the club tried to change the terms of the agreement by claiming that it owned and had an exclusive right to use a storage building next to the track which it calls the clubhouse. The club had been given permission to build the clubhouse on SWGS land in 1997 at no charge but on condition that the building could also be used by SWGS and other schools. The club is now trying to renege on that agreement.

Realising that the dispute over the status of the clubhouse might take a little time to resolve, SWGS offered to let the club hire the track in the meantime in the same way as other members of the public, but for the heavily discounted fee of £20 per hour (the usual fee is £50 per hour). The club rejected this offer and instead chose to fight its legal battle through an inaccurate and misleading lobbying, social media and publicity campaign.

It is not SWGS, but the club itself that has prevented its members from using the running track, by its last-minute rejection of the interim agreement and its refusal to enter a temporary hiring agreement. We hope that the club will drop its unjustified claim to the clubhouse and allow its members to continue to enjoy the benefits of the SWGS running track on the very reasonable terms we have offered.

Michele Chilcott, SWGS head teacher