December 13 2013 Latest news:
Friday, August 23, 2013
Campaigners were last night celebrating after it was revealed playing fields which could have been bulldozed to make way for new homes had been given a temporary reprieve.
Mid Suffolk District Council, which owns Chilton Fields in Stowmarket, has decided not to build on them in the near future, as part of a major development of homes and employment areas, according to councillor John Matthissen.
An online petition had been setup and has so far received more than 650 signatures against the proposals which could see up to 1,000 homes built.
Mr Matthissen is councillor for Onehouse, which lies next to Stowmarket and is included in parts of the proposals.
He said: “At the moment the decision is (the playing fields) are not included in the draft development design. Which means the playing fields would not be built on in the next one-to-two years. I think it’s the right decision not to build on the playing fields.
“The question has been for quite a while: how do we make the development the best contribution to the expansion of the town that we can get. I know some people in Onehouse do not want it to happen but it’s not a realistic position and I have sought to persuade them.”
He said the building of the first 200 homes, as part of the development called Chilton Leys, could begin early next year.
The playing fields, which people have free access to, are not included in an important planning document which Mid Suffolk will vote on next month, he added.
Sarah Kisby, 40, who started up the petition, uses the fields with her two young children.
She said: “I do not know if this is down to the petition but I think it has helped. It’s great that this has happened, it was obviously our ultimate goal to ensure the fields are not built on.
“There’s very little green areas in the town so there’s no point in building on them. The fields are used by dog walkers and children - it’s wonderful news.”
But Mrs Kisby said she would continue to raise the issue with the council as the 15-year development project ran on.
Mid Suffolk has said that if the playing fields were developed, they would have to be replaced in the town.
A spokesman for Mid Suffolk said: “We are aware of the petition to Save Chilton Playing Fields. The executive committee are currently considering the plans for development at Chilton Leys, including on Chilton Fields, and are due to make a decision on September 9.”
He said the full details of the planning document would be made public for a consultation following the council’s vote. The proposals could mean a new primary school is built for the town and could cause Stowmarket High School to be relocated on to the new development.