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Sunderland Echo Letter of the week: Threatened sports fields are 'necessary community asset'

The Southern Area fields, in Washington, hosted a charity match for Bradley Lowery back in 2017.
The Southern Area fields, in Washington, hosted a charity match for Bradley Lowery back in 2017.

I feel compelled to write about the shameful plan the Sunderland Labour Council has of selling off the Washington Southern Area Playing fields to build 202 houses.

The fields have been available to the people of Washington since 1950.

I played on them as a child as many of my friends did and as their fathers and grandfathers did.

Washington United Football Club, which currently plays its games at the site has 300 children who are members and 28 teams.

There are many others who use the facility demonstrating that they are a necessary community asset.

Whilst I appreciate housing is a necessity for the people of Washington, we need affordable housing not more expensive ones.

They are described as “executive family homes”.

What a shame to lose an iconic green space for 202 houses that could go somewhere else.

Sport England’s strategic commissioning document outlines the opportunity sporting facilities give to bodies such as Public Health, Adult Social Care, Children’s Services, the Clinical Commissioning Group and the benefits wellbeing planning can bring.

The Government’s “Sporting Future” document states “sport is part of our national identity” and nowhere is that more apt than in the North East.

The Sunderland Parklife Football Hub document states, however, that the new development of 3G pitches will lead to “surplus grass pitches”.

With some of the reported health risks associated to the plastic pellets on 3G pitches, I know many parents would rather their children played on grass. As they did.

And where does the data come from to suggest the pitches are “surplus”.

I feel this is a money making scam and in a time when obesity in 10 to 11-year-olds in Sunderland is 24.1% and children in care in Sunderland is at a frighteningly high level, surely there has never been a better time for young people to leave their worries behind and play a game of football with their mates.

Team sport creates friendship, teamwork skills, leadership skills, respect for others, social interaction skills, physical fitness and a sense of belonging.

Young people need a bit of that, these days.

Carlton West,

Concord, Washington.

Last week's Letter of the week: Sunderland Council "savings" seem to be a waste of time