£1.5 million cost for 3 football pitches

£850,000 to come from Lowfields project

The York Council courted controversy 2 years ago when it announced that the “replacement” football pitches – for those lost to the Lowfields development – would be provided on a site lying between Tadcaster Road and Bishopthorpe.

Playing fields at Lowfields have been dug up

The site is nearly 3 miles from Lowfield and does not have a direct public transport link.

In December 2017, the Councils Executive approved a £400,000 contribution from the Lowfields budget towards the Bishopthorpe plan. The project will provide a new home for the Bishopthorpe White Rose Football Club.

The new pitches must be ready before the new homes, being built at Lowfields, are occupied. Work on building the homes is due to start in August with road and some other infrastructure already in place.

Now a report to a meeting taking place next week reveals that the Council is to make a substantially greater contribution to the pitch project than has hitherto been admitted.

The Council will now, additionally, contribute £110,000 from Section 106 developer payments intended to provide alternative open space.

 A further £300,000 will come from a “Lowfields developer contribution”.  (The Council is, of course, the developer at Lowfields).

In total, therefore, the Council plans to spend around £850,000 on the scheme which, although it includes a clubhouse, now looks to be a very expensive way of providing 3 football pitches.

The Bishopthorpe football club itself will contribute £80,000, with the balance of £1/2 million coming from the Football Foundation.

Residents are bound to be angry about this latest example of Council duplicity. 

There is land available much nearer Lowfields which would benefit from open space investment. There is, for example, under-used land located between the built-up area and the ring road off Askham Lane.

…But this seems to have been overlooked as the local authority continues to snub the Westfield area.

NB. It also appears that Council officials have made no progress in finding an alternative location for the Kingsway games area. That facility is now being used as a building compound. The Council agreed 3 months ago to seek an alternative site on a nearby sports area and was to have opened negotiations with the current occupiers. Little progress seems to have been made

Future of local football team unclear

2.9 miles from Lowfields to “replacement” football pitch

In a planning  committee report, officials are still claiming that the Woodthorpe Wanderers Football team will relocate from the Lowfields sports field to a new pitch being created on the  Green Belt near London Bridge on Tadcaster Road.

Residents had understood that this had been ruled out as too remote and lacking in perimeter security. The Club does have access to the nearby college pitch.

The  London Bridge field may, however, meet the needs of the Bishopthorpe football club.

The fate of the Lowfields football pitch is central to plan to build houses at Lowfields.

The Sports Council have objected to the loss of the facility.

The Council has now said that they will consider the planning application at their August meeting, well ahead of the start of the Public Inquiry into the York Local Plan.

There have been a lot of objections to the Local Plan relating to the development of the playing field.

Not surprisingly local amenity bodies are crying “foul” over the timing of the planning applications. The Lowfields Action Group have updated their Facebook page.

A few months ago the Action Group published an alternative layout for the Lowfields site which would have ensured that the pitch was retained while also providing space for 200 homes.

Alternative proposal for Lowfields tabled by residents

There are some serious implications for existing Council tenants within the  “housing development programme” published by the Council today. We’ll comment on these later in the week.

Footpath pitches, gardens and broadband works

We understand that the damaged goal posts on the Foxwood Park will be realigned by the Council. The damaged is understood to have been caused by plant. 

Nearby we’ve asked for the goal posts on the Grange Lane Westfield park to also be realigned. There is a long outstanding request for the to be repainted. Kick about sessions at Energise and on Chesney’s Field are due to start at the end of June. They are being organised by the York City FC Foundation

A new safety surface has been provided on the area used for children’s activities at the Foxwood Community Centre

Foxwood residents are asking for volunteers to help on Saturday morning to put the final finishing touches to the, increasingly impressive, community garden on Bellhouse Way

Finally Talk Talk have given an undertaken to make good the damage caused to verges and paths during their recent excavation works (see below for programme)

 

Chesney Field Council decision on 19th October UPDATED

WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE COUNCIL WILL NOT NOW DISCUSS THE CHESNEY FIELD ISSUES ON 19TH OCTOBER. INSTEAD THE QUESTION OF PROVIDING FENCING AND A STORAGE CONTAINER ON THE SITE WILL BE CONSIDERED AT A LATER MEETING WHEN THE EXECUTIVE MEMBER FOR LEISURE WILL REVIEW THE PROPOSALS. THE MEETING WILL, OF COURSE, BE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC AND RESIDENTS WILL BE ABLE TO MAKE REPRESENTATIONS.

EARLIER: Despite overwhelming opposition to the proposal to fence off most of the Chesney Field public open space, the York Council is set to discuss the plan at a meeting of its Executive taking place on 19th October.

The same meeting will also consider selling off land at Burnholme and plans to provide sports pitches on land at the “Askham estate” on Tadcaster Road.

However it is the proposal to erect 1 metre high railings, on the public open space on Foxwood Lane, that is likely to attract the most controversy.

Chesney’s Field Interpretation board unveiled last year

Council fencing plan

Public meeting

The Foxwood Residents Association is organising a public meeting to discuss the issue. It will take place on Wednesday 20th September starting at 7:00pm. The meeting will take place at the Foxwood Community Centre and will be attended by those Council officials who favour the railings plan.

Local Ward Councillors have now completed delivering a door to door survey to households in the Foxwood area seeking views on the Council’s plans.

Of those who have responded so far

  • 124 (72%) do not want to see the amenity area fenced off
  • 48 (28%) support putting railings round up to 60% of the area

These was no support for securing the whole of the site.

Most respondents said they had no objection to the current arrangements where football and rugby pitches are marked out on the area and rented on a seasonal basis by local clubs.

There was no opposition to plans to level the 2 pitches.

There was strong opposition to siting a shipping storage container on the open space, although some said they had no objection to one being located in the Thanet Road sports area (Acorn Field) behind the landscaping mounds.

Additional trees were planted on Chesney’s Field

Views about the provision of a trim track or outdoor gym were mixed. Some favoured provision of such a facility (which is not dependant on the area being fenced off) on Chesneys field although others felt the provision would be more appropriate on the Acorn field, where there is already a significant amount of sports infrastructure (and which is already secured with 2 metre high railings).

Residents were asked where provision for the local football club, which faces eviction from the Council owned pitches at Lowfields, should be made. The majority of respondents said that the Lowfields plans should be redesigned to allow the existing pitches to remain.

Others pointed to the Councils promise to provide an alternative on Tadcaster Road, while some asked if the joint use of pitches on the Acorn Rugby field was possible (given the projected cost of the project which is put at £40,000)

Foxwood residents, who have so far not completed the survey, can do so “on line” at http://tinyurl.com/Chesneyaug