July 23 2014 Latest news:
Kath Sansom, .
Thursday, July 17, 2014
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 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.
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”.