Hatfield Broak Oak remains split over parkland and sporting facility plans

PUBLISHED: 11:31 30 July 2009 | UPDATED: 07:18 30 May 2010

The plans for the village green continue to cause major division  Picture: SUBMITTED

The plans for the village green continue to cause major division Picture: SUBMITTED

A VILLAGE is bitterly split on a new sporting and parkland facility even though planning permission for phase one of the project has already been granted. Hatfield Broad Oak residents crammed into the Uttlesford District Council chambers last week to show

A VILLAGE is bitterly split on a new sporting and parkland facility even though planning permission for phase one of the project has already been granted.

Hatfield Broad Oak residents crammed into the Uttlesford District Council chambers last week to show objection to a proposed public amenity space situated on the corner of Dunmow Road and the High Street.

However, speaking in support of the village parish council-led project was Keith Artus. He said: "It is an exciting opportunity. Our ultimate goal is to establish an area at the heart of the village that will bring traditional village sporting and community pastimes to our doorstep, creating a beautiful area that is open to the whole community to use."

Plans are currently at a development stage but include a cricket pitch and pavilion, an overlapping football pitch, a major village green area, and nature areas and walks.

Last Wednesday, planning was granted for a change of land use from open pasture to public amenity space allowing the parish council to now apply for funding grants.

However, a swathe of residents attending the meeting to oppose the plans vowed to not give up the fight against what they see as a "dangerous idea".

Villager David Smith said: "The location is inappropriate because it is historical parkland with rare species of plants. It forms a very special aspect of the village.

A cricket pitch would require earthmoving equipment destroying pasture land and the access from the road would be very dangerous.

"Only 14 per cent of residents have actually shown any support for these plans. The village already has green spaces and thriving facilities - we say if the plans cannot be rejected they should at least be limited."

According to a survey conducted by the parish council, results show that out of 201 responses 84 per cent of respondents were in favour of the scheme

Mr Artus said: "With approximately a third of households replying the sample can be considered to be easily representative of village opinion.

"Any such plans will record some objections, disappointingly mainly against change itself. The parish council has tried to engage objectors constructively to find areas of mutual benefit and will continue to do this as the scheme progresses.

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