When I first learned the council’s draft Core Strategy and Development Plan 2017-2033 proposed West Park for housing development, I thought it a mistake.
I assumed it to be nearby land fronting the B1286 and the A19 also in the green belt. On reading the document, to my astonishment, it was West Park.
I noted, however, the description of the site as inadequate suggesting a failure to understand the status of this space. No recognition of the use of the playing field opened in the 1950s by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh and part of the park is public amenity space given over to grazing in the summer as part of a separate legal arrangement in place before the council inherited the land as part of the Rural District Council takeover in 1967. This aspect of the park’s use has been traditionally respected by residents, especially dog walkers.
The document makes the point that only 3% of the existing greenbelt is needed to meet future development. This identifies a fundamental weakness in the proposal. If we are to concede such scenic and important public amenity space and an area that is a feature and defines the character of the Herringtons in the first 3% just where do we go from here?
The proposal on West Park is illogical, unnecessary and needs a swift deletion from the draft plan.
Should it go through against what will be a titanic local campaign of opposition it will rank as the single greatest act of municipal vandalism in the city’s history.
Councillor for St Chad’s 1979- 2008