Play area plan sparks row

PUBLISHED: 09:40 24 April 2009 | UPDATED: 07:14 30 May 2010

The residents’ plan (right) against the parish council plan  Picture: SUBMITTED

The residents’ plan (right) against the parish council plan Picture: SUBMITTED

ACCUSATIONS of foul play and personal vendettas are flying between parish councillors and residents as work begins on a £106,000 playing field project. Both sides are refusing to back down over the placement of sports pitches, a pavilion, car parking and

ACCUSATIONS of foul play and personal vendettas are flying between parish councillors and residents as work begins on a £106,000 playing field project.

Both sides are refusing to back down over the placement of sports pitches, a pavilion, car parking and a floodlit games area in Felsted.

Residents living near the site at the rear of Memorial Hall have berated the parish council's plan and have come up with what they think is a better solution.

However, parish councillor Alan Thawley, who has been leading the project for four years, said that residents are only thinking of themselves and they had put the whole project in jeopardy.

"Lottery funding was almost lost because of the resident's campaign," he said. "I do not see what they are trying to achieve by trying to change things at this late stage.

"It seems to be a vendetta against the council. Residents were consulted all the way through the process and I am afraid they are just too late."

He added: "Our plan is the best option because the play areas are closer to homes - it is safer for them to be away from the car park where they could be groomed."

Residents are furious that the council will not consider fresh plans to move seven-metre floodlights, as well as "noisy" play areas away from homes.

Christine Mabb, of Orchard Close, was the project secretary until she resigned in October because the council was going in a "different direction".

She said: "We are not against the project, but want it to be re-designed. We have asked the council on a number of occasions but they will not listen to us. They see it as their project and are just carrying on regardless. It is not democratic."

A consultation was carried out before the plans were submitted to Uttlesford District Council and work on a multi-use games area began on Tuesday morning.

Mrs Mabb added: "The consultation was one afternoon in February and the vote for and against the council plans was decided by one vote. Since then we have had at least 30 letters and a petition against it. That puts us in the majority.

"It makes me angry that this project has been pushed through by two or three high powered councillors."

The parish council has said it has no intention of changing any plans that have already been agreed.

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