Council heading for confrontation over games area demolition plan

Muddle over future of Lincoln Court

According to papers released today, York Council planners are prepared to enlist the support of the Secretary of State in their bid to demolish the all-weather games area (MUGA) near Lincoln Court. Council officials claim that the children’s play facility must go as part of their plans to build an additional 15 “extra care” flats on the adjacent site.

Sport England, the resident’s association, local Councillors and residents have all objected to the plan. They feel an alternative games area should be provided before the existing facility is lost.  They have pointed to the Thanet Road Sports area as a possible alternative location.

Council officials have had over a year to sort out an alternative but are understood to have only recently contacted the Acorn Rugby Club who lease most of the alternative site.

Sport England effectively has a veto on the removal of facilities. If the Council wanted to demolish the existing MUGA without their agreement the they would need the approval of the Secretary of State to do so. It seems that they are prepared to risk such a confrontation.

Hopes that an Executive meeting to be held on 18th March would broker an agreement on the dispute over play provision are now fading

The move is the latest in a series of decisions which have gradually seen sports facilities and open spaces eroded in the Westfield area. Last year planning permission was given to build on the Lowfields playing field. A local bowling green faced the same fate while the Hob Moor school playing field is being reduced in size. 5 years ago the Council agreed to build on the Our Lady’s playing fields.

Figures produced by the Council, in support of its Local Plan proposals, reveal that there is a deficiency in all forms of open space and sports provision in the Westfield ward. The ward now also has the highest levels of child obesity in the City

The planning meeting is taking place on Wednesday 20th March at 5:00pm. The background papers for the meeting can be viewed by clicking here Residents may make representations by registering to speak at the meeting or by Email to Christopher.elliott@york.gov.uk

The issues are before the committee again because an earlier planng permission incorrectly identified the new “apartments” as being for residents requiring “extra care”.  The latest application adds to the confusion as the report also refers to the new units as being for “extra care”. In reality 15 extra care units would not be economically viable because of staffing requirements.

The scheme has also been criticised for reducing the amount of garden space available for residents and for providing inadequate off street parking space for visitors.

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