Hundreds Sign Petition Against College's Sports Field Plan

Hundreds of residents have signed a petition against a plan to create a new entrance and extra parking spaces at an Oldswinford sports field.

People living near The Green Fields playing fields are up in arms over King Edward VI College's proposal to create a second entrance, access road and parking for 15 cars off the Oakleigh Road/Love Lane side of the site - in addition to an existing entrance off Swinford Road.

The residents had already set up an action group to voice objections and urge college trustees to rethink the idea - but the plan, which is due to go before Dudley planners next Tuesday (July 19), has been recommended for approval.

Residents fear the development will only push the parking woes experienced near the present access in Swinford Road into Love Lane, Cobham Road and Oakleigh Road.

Richard Deakin, from the Oakleigh Road, Love Lane, Cobham Road Action Committee, said: "If this application is allowed it will create further chaos around the three roads, which the residents strongly object to as demonstrated by the near 500 signatures on the petition.

"This will not make a scrap of difference to the parking in Swinford Road. Photographic evidence shows 130 cars plus have been parked on and around Swinford Road when only two football matches are being played - that happens on weekends on a regular basis and on evenings while light nights permit."

Residents say the proposed new access route is also near a dangerous bend - but a report to the planning committee says the plan cannot be refused on highway safety grounds as "there is sufficient visibility from the access onto Oakleigh Road".

The report is equally dismissive of concerns about privacy and the possibly devaluation of homes and it states: "The land is a public playing field and users of the field would already potentially be able to overlook gardens already."

Mr Deakin, however, said the location of the proposed parking spaces and proximity to properties would mean "residents might as well have a car park in their gardens" and he added: "Any privacy and security they have would be seriously compromised."

Desperate to see the plan ditched - members of the action group descended on the college on the final day of term last Friday to hand over their 460-name petition.

They believe college bosses should instead move the sports pitches to the north of the site and create an all-weather parking facility with access and a separate exit off Swinford Road near to the new pavilion.

Mr Deakin said: "This is a completely feasible project which they or their report is saying can't be done which is completely ridiculous. They do not want to listen to any suggestions to improve the situation."

David Morgan, clerk to the foundation trustees of King Edward's, said the planning application was "subject to the usual planning process which gives residents affected by the proposal the opportunity to voice any concerns and for those concerns to be considered by the authority".

He added: "A representative of the college has met representatives of the residents to listen to their concerns and, following a meeting on February 8, the foundation trustees provided a written response to questions raised by the residents."


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