Fenland’s best kept secret to be unveiled as county council leader prepares to explain his proposals for Estover -

20:49 17 July 2014

Cambridgeshire County Council election, Cllr Steve Count.

Cambridgeshire County Council election, Cllr Steve Count.

Archant

A public meeting has been called to discuss the future of a March playing field but the man behind it -county council leader Steve Count- remains tight lipped over what will be unveiled.

Estover playing field.Estover playing field.

Estover playing field was saved from being turned into a housing estate in a minute planning U-turn by Fenland Council last year after residents feared it would become a site for 450 new homes.

The playing field can not be built on in the next 18 years thanks to being logged as recreation space in Fenland District Council’s core strategy planning document.

Now Cllr Count, who is also a March town councillor, has called a meeting for tomorrow (Friday) at the Oliver Cromwell hotel to “consult with the people of March on the future of sports provision.”

In addition Fenland councillor Peter Tunley has proposed a motion calling for the playing field to be secured for the long term future with a peppercorn rent agreement from Cambridgeshire County Council.

The sign at the entrance to Estover Playing FieldThe sign at the entrance to Estover Playing Field

Cllr Tunley said: “He said: “Estover playing field is kept on a three year lease by Cambridgeshire County Council.

“Because of financial constraints this council has reduced grant funding to the association in recent years and the association is relies on donations from local businesses and fund raising activities to remain financially viable.

“In my view this is unacceptable for one of the town’s longest surviving and most important recreational assets.”

Estover Playing has sat on a knife edge for years as residents feared it would be turned into building land.

Last year, the then leader of Fenland, Alan Melton saved it for future generations by making sure it remained as a playing field.

Two years ago Cllr Count revealed he had asked the county council and the FA to review football provision in March, including the future of the Estover playing field.

He said that councils were not bound by law to provide sports facilities “but it is only right, if we want our children to grow up healthily with a love of exercise and sport, that we help secure appropriate facilities for the community”.

1 comment

  • As I understand it, the Estover Playing Field formed part of the former North East Housing Allocation, an overall area of some 79 acres. This comprised not only the playing field but 60 acres of surrounding farmland. This housing allocation was eventually withdrawn from the Core Strategy by FDC. The Planning Inspector accepted the residents reasons why this was an inappropriate housing allocation and the Government has now approved the Core Strategy without the North East Housing allocation. Although the Core Strategy indicated 450 houses on this former housing allocation, I personally, based upon current house building densities, would say, the would be more likely some 800-900 houses. Current building rates are anything between 12-14 houses per acre, hence 828- 966 houses on 79 acres. The area in the Core Strategy is therefore expected to remain in its current uses. I am not aware that the playing field "is logged as recreation space in the Core Strategy".

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    Trevor

    Friday, July 18, 2014

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