Fears that play space could be lost to redevelopment

Published on: 01 Dec 2017

PEOPLE living near a play area in Coalpit Heath are worried it could be given over to housing if parish leaders decide to give up the lease.
Children who live in houses surrounding the Ridings Road play space are among the main users of the facility, which includes some play equipment and is also used as a kick-about area.
The site is managed by FramFears that play space could be lost to redevelopment
pton Cotterell Parish Council, which leases it from South Gloucestershire Council for a peppercorn rent.
But a recent meeting of the parish’s finance working group recommended the land should be handed back to South Gloucestershire, with a suggestion that it be transferred to Merlin Housing Society, as previously done with land at Bell Road and the surrounding housing stock.
The group said “it was felt that Merlin could redevelop the site" in line with building currently taking place in the locality.
Members of the group agreed such a move would save the parish money as replacing, updating and adding to the play equipment, as well as cutting the grass and emptying the bins there, would “no longer be a strain on costs to the parish”.
But local residents have reacted with outrage at the possible loss of the site and the lack of consultation.
Brian Goodman, 82, said: “Young children deserve every yard of play area. It’s a nice play area that’s well used and could be improved.
“We’re all choked up with traffic as it is and this piece of land is most valuable to the children.”
Mr Goodman also said the play area had been used by the air ambulance as a landing space when dealing with emergency call-outs locally - another reason not to have it built on.
Another nearby resident, Mick Bony, said: “It’s a bit of green space we don’t want to lose but there’s every possibility we might lose it and it’s possible it might then be decided to develop it.
“There’s not much green space left and we don’t want to lose any more.”
The recommendation by the working group was due to be debated by the full Frampton Cotterell Parish Council as Frome Valley Voice went to press.
Coalpit Heath is one of the villages where Merlin Housing Society is building new homes as part of a major scheme to increase and improve its housing stock.

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