May 22, 2009

Preschool charged for picnic grass use

A London local council charged a preschool $185 to use a patch of grass for its annual picnic due to fears the festivities could harm the lawn.

Parents and teachers at the Norwood Grove preschool in London's Croydon borough said they have used the patch of grass outside of the school gates for their picnics for the past 16 years free of charge, but this year the Croydon Council demanded $185 to cover potential damage to the grass, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

The school serves a total of 37 students between the ages of 2 and 5.

This is a little party in the park -- we are not going to have loud music playing, principal Joan Runcorn said. It is always well supervised by me and my staff, with the parents here as well. What I want to know is what do we get for that money we pay the council?

A council spokesman defended the decision to charge the school.

For fairness, and in the best interests of public safety, it is essential that we treat all applications even-handedly, with appropriate charges being made and checks in place to ensure that event organizers have the necessary risk assessments and insurance, he said.