Author Topic: Designation of land as a QEII field will prevent any change of use in perpetuity  (Read 4268 times)

Admin

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The Diglis Playing Fields are under threat. Some time back the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge was launched for the The Queen?s Diamond Jubilee. The Worcester City Council were not very vocal about this challenge and it wasn't until I found out by pure chance, that I realised the Diglis Playing Fields would have been the ideal choice for Worcester.

We all know its merits and there are many people who use these playing fields and of course the Cherry Orchard Nature Reserve on a daily basis. 

The Duke of Cambridge made a speech.http://www.qe2fields.com

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This marvellous charity provides people of all ages, up and down the country, with the space to play sport, keep fit and generally get outside and enjoy themselves in the fresh air.  Fields in Trust, I know, is very dear to my grandparents? hearts, as it is to mine.‪

I phoned the Worcester City Council Cabinet office and spoke to a Val Lazenby (tel:722314) on the 14th June 2012 asking if the Diglis Playing Fields/Cherry Orchard nature Reserve would be included in the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge. She informed me that a Mr. David Sutton was a dealing with it and that she would pass my message on when he comes out of a meeting.

I then sent her a back up email:
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Hello Val,
 
Thank you for sending the QEll Fields Challenge for the Cherry Orchard playing fields/nature reserve word document. After speaking to Mr. David Sutton on the 14th June 2012, I phoned Taylor Wimpey and spoke to a woman called Revinder regarding the section 106 which is attached to the playing fields. She has since checked with Taylor Wimpey land department, who informed her that they only have two references to the fields: 1) the footpath (which is now completed), 2) Improvements to the playing fields for amenity purposes and no other building work.
 
They stated that they have no authority over Diglis playing fields/Cherry Orchard nature reserve.
 
They have no problems with the fields being granted the QEll Fields Challenge status; in-fact reading between the lines I suspect they would prefer it; probably because it would help with their marketing. Also, a possibility of some good public relations may be forthcoming in the way of funding.
 
I do hope that there will be a good chance of having the Cherry Orchard playing fields/nature reserve being designated as a QEII field.
 
Best regards

A day or so later I spoke to Mr. D. Sutton, Service Manager in consultation with the respective Cabinet Member Councillor Roger Knight ( the person charged with responsibility to find suitable sites for the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge. He told me that Taylor Wimpey had a section 106 on the Diglis playing fields and that part of the playing fields may have been earmarked for future development and that is why he had not included Diglis playing Fields in his submission to participate in the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge.
 
I phoned Taylor Wimpey (Midland office tel: 01926 516923), and spoke to Revinder who returned my call on the 22nd June1012) telling me that she had been in contact with their land office who had told her that they had checked section 106 and they only had two charges on the Diglis playing fields:

  • The footpath - now finished
  • Playing fields improvements

outstanding.

I then emailed Mr. Sutton:

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Dear Mr. Sutton,

After speaking to you on the 14th June 2012, I phoned Taylor Wimpey and spoke to a woman called Revinder (tel: 01926 516923) regarding the section 106 which is attached to the Diglis playing fields. She has since checked with Taylor Wimpey's land department, who informed her that they only have two references to the fields: 1) the footpath (which is now completed), 2) Improvements to the playing fields for amenity purposes, no other building work is going to be undertaken.

They stated that they have no authority over the Cherry Orchard playing fields/nature reserve.

They have no problems with the fields being granted the QEll Fields Challenge status; in-fact reading between the lines I suspect they would prefer it; probably because it would help with their marketing. Also, a possibility of some good public relations may be forthcoming in the way of funding.

I do hope that there will be a good chance of having the Diglis playing fields/ Cherry Orchard nature reserve being designation as a QEII field.

Best regards


Mr. Sutton emailed me back:

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Dear

Thank you for your email.

You are right that Taylor Wimpey do not have authority over the playing fields and nature reserve which are on land owned by the City Council.

Designation of land as a QEII field will prevent any change of use in perpetuity.

With large developments, such as those currently being carried out in Diglis, it is usual for the developer to be required to set aside a sum of money which the local authority will use to ensure that there are appropriate public open space, footpaths, cycle ways and other transport infrastructure.

With regard to the Diglis area the Council does not yet have a detailed plan as to what work will be carried out and it would therefore not be appropriate to designate such a large space as the playing fields. This does not mean that there is any alternative use currently envisaged for what I agree is a valuable amenity, and the controls within the planning system apply. This land is designated as ?green network? and ?flood zone? within the current South Worcestershire Development Plan.

As we discussed, I am considering the Cherry Orchard Nature Reserve for QEII field nomination, but will not be including the playing fields for the reasons outlined above.

Yours sincerely,
David Sutton

Service Manager ? Cleaner and Greener City
Worcester City Council

email:  david.sutton@worcester.gov.uk
telephone: 01905 722302
mobile: 07584 525557
address: Orchard House, Farrier Street, Worcester WR1 3BB
web: www.worcester.gov.uk

We feel that if we all campaign, there's a good chance we could have the Diglis Playing Fields and the Cherry Orchard Nature reserve designated as a Queen?s Diamond Jubilee field in perpetuity.

Kreed

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This is something that is worth fighting for! If the council get their hands on our playing fields there will be a massive housing estate in no time.


jaybee

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This is something that is worth fighting for! If the council get their hands on our playing fields there will be a massive housing estate in no time.

I absolutely agree with you and if needs be I'll be laying down in front of the bulldozers!! >:(

Claire E

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Sounds like a great idea. Are you thinking of starting a petition or should we all get in touch with the council individually?

christopher

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I have e-mailed David Sutton and await a reply. I suggest we all e-mail the Worcester Council to let them see our determination on this one!

 >:(

Admin

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Sounds like a great idea. Are you thinking of starting a petition or should we all get in touch with the council individually?

At this late stage a petition may not get to the powers that be, who decide on these things, in time.

Getting in touch with David Sutton (by email or phone) would perhaps prove to be more effective in this instance.

When I spoke to him he was positive about making the Diglis Playing Fields a designated QE ll playing field site. I'm hopeful that the councillor who set him on his quest would be better swayed to our cause if the Worcester City Council were inundated by the residents, and people who visit, the Diglis area by our objections using email and the phone.

If that fails then perhaps a meeting could be set up and the next course of action will be decided.

Together we are an unbeatable force. 

Admin

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I have e-mailed David Sutton and await a reply. I suggest we all e-mail the Worcester Council to let them see our determination on this one!

 >:(

Good for you Christopher. I'm impressed with the response that the Diglis site is getting from residents and others concerning this problem. There have been many views of the site since it was set up a few days ago.

christopher

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I think we should initially contact the council individually, the dripping tap effect so to speak. I have just e-mailed Cllr. Roger Knight too.

Roger.Knight@worcester.gov.uk

If it's looking likely we are in for a battle then we should organise a meeting and try to grab a councillor along too.

Do you agree?

Admin

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I think we should initially contact the council individually, the dripping tap effect so to speak. I have just e-mailed Cllr. Roger Knight too.

I do agree Christopher, in fact I also emailed Roger.Knight@worcester.gov.uk today inviting him to visit the Digls.com site and read some of the posts, perhaps he will leave a post.

jaybee

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I agree that emailing councillors and mp's in the first place is a good idea.I once posted that I would lie down in front of a bulldozer to save the playing fields,but of course,by then it would be too late as all plans would have been passed.We have to keep up to speed with everything the council do.Has anyone had a reply from their various emails yet?

christopher

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Reply received from David Sutton:

"Thank you for your email. Eight sites across the city have been selected for consideration for the QEII fields scheme. Whilst the nature reserve is being put forward the playing fields are not included in this scheme.

Designation as a QEII field would place a covenant on the land that would require it?s use as a playing field in perpetuity. Such a decision would therefore require an assessment of potential uses over the foreseeable future and beyond. The on going developments at Diglis will realise a considerable sum for enhancement of infrastructure, community facilities and amenity in the area. At this time there is no ?master plan? for this area and, given the size of the playing fields, it would therefore be unwise to place a restrictive covenant on the land.
 

I would like to stress that there are no plans for development of the playing fields, which are designated as ?green network? within the South Worcestershire Development Plan, and are protected by the relevant planning policies. The fields are also designated as ?flood zone? which clearly impacts on the possibility of alternative use."
 

Yours sincerely,
 

David Sutton
Service Manager ? Cleaner and Greener City
Worcester City Council
email:  david.sutton@worcester.gov.uk
telephone: 01905 722302
mobile: 07584 525557
address: Orchard House, Farrier Street, Worcester WR1 3BB
web: www.worcester.gov.uk
 


Claire E

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The on going developments at Diglis will realise a considerable sum for enhancement of infrastructure, community facilities and amenity in the area.

Is Mr Sutton trying to suggest that developing the playing fields would improve the local community facilities and amenity? I'm sorry but that's clearly bunk since any enhancement brought by a developer could never replace the loss of the most important amenity we already have.

I have emailed Mr Sutton today and await a reply.

Admin

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Thank you Christopher and Claire E. for taking the time to email Mr.Sutton. There are many anomalies in his reply.

Quote from: Mr. Sutton
Designation as a QEII field would place a covenant on the land that would require it?s use as a playing field in perpetuity.

Fantastic, isn't this what the residents of the Diglis area are campaigning for?


Quote from: Mr. Sutton
Such a decision would therefore require an assessment of potential uses over the foreseeable future and beyond.

What other uses? Surely not a housing estate!

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The on going developments at Diglis will realise a considerable sum for enhancement of infrastructure, community facilities and amenity in the area.

And could be spent on the QEll Playing Fields, such as benches, rugby pitch, cricket pitch including practice nets, netball and rounders pitch, tennis court, changing room building, including toilets and showers. And much more; all suggestion welcome.

Quote from: Mr. Sutton
At this time there is no ?master plan? for this area and, given the size of the playing fields, it would therefore be unwise to place a restrictive covenant on the land.

This sentence worries me, I suggest that the Diglis residents would prefer a playing field and not a housing estate or container yard. I just don't see how it would be unwise to come to a decision now, if the Worcester City Council don't pull their fingers out the considerable sum of money promised by Taylor Wimpey may just disappear in all the cutbacks that are forthcoming!
 

Quote from: Mr. Sutton
I would like to stress that there are no plans for development of the playing fields, which are designated as ?green network? within the South Worcestershire Development Plan, and are protected by the relevant planning policies.

With respect a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. I don't trust woolly phrases which are ambiguous like 'I would like to stress'. this is not the same as I can categorically guarantee that there will not be any other development on the Diglis Playing fields in perpetuity, backed up with a charter and signed by the QE ll playing fields trust.


Quote from: Mr. Sutton
The fields are also designated as ?flood zone? which clearly impacts on the possibility of alternative use."

Then how is it that the new apartments for Diglis Water have been built further down and much nearer to the river? I've seen these flood as they were being built; oh yes, they screened off the road to stop people taking photos but they do flood. Therefore the flooding argument has no credulity as far as I'm concerned!

christopher

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Are you going to send the above list of anomalies to him? I think we should challenge his comments.

Please everyone, let's get this sorted out soon before it could be too late. Get e-mailing and become a pest.

 >:(

christopher

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Reply I have now received from Cllr. Roger Knight:

"You will have had a response from David Sutton by now, but I just wanted to add that Cherry Orchard Nature Reserve has indeed been selected as one of the eight sites going forward under the QEII scheme and is quite a large site at something over ten hectares.  I will also confirm that there are no development plans for the playing fields for the reasons David has given."

I trust you will be re-assured by this this.

Regards,
Roger Knight.


(Nope, can't say that I am!)