Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Don't get off Laundry Field

Can you believe it? Within weeks of buying Blackberry Hill Hospital, including Laundry Field, the government's Homes and Communities Agency has been surveying Laundry Field and have now put up signs seeking to prevent any public access beyond the existing public footpaths that cross the field and go around the edge of it.

This is despite the HCA's original statement that they had "identified the site as suitable for mixed-use development which when brought forward, may include shops, commercial space, community facilities and open space, as well as up to 350 new homes"

And a promise that: "the development will include extensive consultation with local community and stakeholder groups, and will meet the HCA’s quality design and environmental standards." Well if putting up bullying signs is their idea of extensive consultation with the local community, we're not very impressed.

We've been checking on the status of Laundry Field and it is marked on the Council's own planning documents as open space. The action of the HCA are clearly intended to prevent the designation of a Town or Village Green for the site, but we have already been sent enough evidence to show that it has been used for legal sports and pastimes for more than twenty years. So they'll have a real fight on their hands, especially if they continue to behave in such a heavy handed manner. Snuff Mills Action Group are meeting later this week to discuss how we should respond to yet another threat to the greenspaces that make this area so special. In the meantime we urge you to keep enjoying Laundry Field.

You can also let the Regional Director of the HCA know your feelings about their actions by emailing him at colin.molton@hca.gsx.gov.uk


Squibber said...

We only moved to Fishponds in late 2006 but have been using Laundry Field on walks with our dog (and poop bags) 4-5 times a week ever since. The loss of a well used green space in our community is something which we're sure will stir strong feelings in many: earlier today my wife spoke to someone who's been using the field for 15 years! Don't be misled by the new signs, as the OS map shows a number of Rights of Way in and through the field. Apart from the obvious ones that hug the boundary by the housing and along the bank at the foot of the field, the OS map shows one leading directly across the centre of the field: running SE-NW, between the point where the footpath from Manor Road enters the field and the access point down into the Frome Valley (next to the secure unit.)
Friends and family that visit us from outside the city are often amazed at how quickly we can be walking through green space and woodland. We'll we watching this site for further developments and will offer whatever support we can to protect the amenity offered by Laundry Field.

markL said...

please please email or write to the HCA (dont forget to send or copy SMAG in). The more responses they get in regards to their actions the more likely they are to meet with the community.
The sooner this happens the better. To be for warned is for armed after all, also if they ignore request to meet this can be used in future to show that we have tried at an early stage to consult.

sued said...

Have emailed Colin Molton - I think a prompt barrage will let them know we are paying attention!

Mogz said...

I too had a reply but it looks like its in the form of a standard letter from s subordinate. Do hope there's not too many of them!

Anonymous said...

Those signs realy wound me up at the end of nice walk. Anyone fancy a game of football?

Squibber said...

A Public Rights of Way Officer from the City Council visited the field last week to investigate the positioning of the HCA signs. At least one of these, reading 'Private Land no public access or right of way' appears to been placed directly on top of a Right of Way!

The Council have now asked the HCA to "take action."

stevem said...

A representative of the HCA has agreed to meet a small delegation of people from the local community in September. About six people will attend from the community, including people from Snuff Mills Action Group, Satpleton Conservation Society and our local Councillor.

We'll raise the key issues to do with Laundry Field and the Hospital with them and invite them to attend a general public meeting too so they can really hear everyone's views. In the meantime, if you have something you'd like us to raise with the HCA when we meet them, please post your comment here or email us at snuffmills@hotmail.co.uk