Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Regeneration meeting tonight & village green status

There is another regeneration meeting tonight at Brookside Community Centre from 6:30pm to 8pm.

At this meeting you will have the opportunity to see and discuss the draft plans that Telford & Wrekin Council have drawn up following early consultations with residents.

We saw the first draft of the plans at the last regeneration meeting a fortnight ago and they look great but there is one element of the plans I am undecided on: extending the car park into the green outside Windmill School.  Even before I became a councillor I opposed the development of the green, collecting feedback from residents regarding village green status and speaking at the planning board meeting considering the council's own application for a number of houses on the green which they deferred at that meeting and later withdrew.  When I stood for election I said that I would oppose building on the green and would continue to work for official village green status to protect the valuable green space for future generations.

So, the dilemma I have is that the draft regeneration plans foresee a larger car park where the current one is now.  This would be realised either by cutting down the trees at the front of the car park and extending towards the road or by encroaching on the grassed area.  The trees are teeming with birds during nesting season so I don't think cutting them down is an option so the only real choice for an enlarged car park is to take away some of the grassed area.  A larger car park is certainly needed as anyone who has been there at school opening and closing times will testify but the price of a larger car park is the loss of a few yards of the green.

My initial thoughts were that the green should remain intact and that the enlarged car park should be opposed but there is a need for a larger car park and it's only a few yards of the green that would be lost.  My more recent thinking on it is that perhaps the larger car park should be accepted on the condition that Telford & Wrekin Council voluntarily grants village green status for the green and the field behind Windmill School.  A promise not to develop either is no good because the parish council already has a written promise from the borough council not to build on the green which they have ignored with their draft regeneration plan.  Village green status would legally prevent any development of the green or the field (which is zoned for housing at the moment).

I will make this suggestion at tonight's meeting to see what the reaction is but I would like some feedback from residents on what you think the response should be to the idea of losing some of the green to enlarge the car park.  Please leave a comment or contact me.