Monday, 9 June 2014

Telford & Wrekin withdraw plans for building on gymkhana field

I wrote about the council sneaking around making plans to sell off the gymkhana field last week and submitted an online petition to the council calling for the field and all of the town park to be protected from development.

Today I received the following response from Telford & Wrekin Council confirming that my petition has been rejected because they've decided not to build on the field after all:
Thank you for your recent request for an e-petition reference land known as the Gymkhana Field at Stirchley Road/Stirchley Lane.

The Council had been investigating the development potential of the land fronting Strichley [sic] Road among options in Stirchley to fund reinvestment in the Town Park. This led to enquiries about the adjacent ‘Gymkhana Field’. Following concerns from Friends of the Town Park and in consultation with Cabinet Members, the Council is absolutely clear that it will not continue these investigations to develop this site.

For this reason, we will not allow the petition to go ahead as we cannot justify hosting a petition objecting against plans that do not exist and given that the Council is clear there will be no development plans brought forward for this land.

The nearby site of former school due to its previous use is however considered a brownfield site and therefore, subject to planning permission, suitable for a minor development. This site will be brought forward in due course. The land surrounding the former school will not be considered for development.

I trust this clarifies matters.

Nigel Newman
Communications Manager
Co-operative Council and Commercial Delivery Team
This is great news of course but the council have promised not to build anywhere in the town park before and here they've been caught marketing part of it behind residents' backs so I will reword my petition to take out specific references to the gymkhana field and resubmit it.
Here is the wording I originally submitted:

Telford & Wrekin Council have plans to build houses on what is locally known as the gymkhana or show jumping field in Stirchley.

This field is inside the town park boundary and has only ever been farm land and park land. Planning officers have agreed in principal to building houses on it and the council's property and assets team have been soft marketing it to housing developers. They have behaved in a sneaky and underhand manner to try and stitch up a deal to sell part of our park.

Telford Town Park is our most valuable community asset and all of it needs to be protected, not just the bits you can see from the council's new offices at Southwater. There should be no houses built in the town park.