‘Tranquil’ playing field to get village green status despite parish council’s objection

JPCT 200912 Launch of Friends of Memorial Playing Field group at Memorial Playing Field, Steyning. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 200912 Launch of Friends of Memorial Playing Field group at Memorial Playing Field, Steyning. Photo by Derek Martin
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A ‘tranquil’ area of land in Steyning is set to become a village green, despite strong objections from Steyning Parish Council.

The fate of Memorial Playing Field, which has been the subject of much debate in the market town, was decided by the county council at a rights of way committee meeting on Tuesday.

Steyning Parish Council opposed the plans, fearing the change would affect a pending application for a new skate park.

However, speaking on behalf of Friends of the Memorial Playing Field, Paul Campbell said Steyning Parish Council was ‘devoid of sensitivity’ for objecting to the village green status.

“The only reason the parish council has opposed the application is because, amazingly, it wants to be free to destroy the area with a noisy and monstrous skate park,” he told the committee.

“They want to create an enormous, festering, eyesore on a landscape which makes the area so special. This is a beautiful and tranquil area. There is not a single resident of Steyning who has opposed this registration, unfortunately, the only opposition has been Steyning Parish Council.

“So, we ask you please to make this a happy and historic day for the people of Steyning.”

However, Cllr Colin Wilsdon described the skate park issue as ‘irrelevant’.

“The case has been made, regardless of the skate park, and I think we should approve it,” he said.

Bill Acraman, chairman of the committee said: “Our job is right of way. If we choose to decree this a village green then so be it. The issue of the skate park is now a matter between the parish council and the local authority.”

Cllr Derek Whittington said: “I fully appreciate why were are here today. But at the same time, the speaker is obviously unaware that the young people who may wish to use the skate park have just as much right to enjoy themselves.

“I’m tempted to abstain from this vote,” he added.

Cllr Richard Burrett said he understood why the parish council was fighting the application, but could see ‘no reason’ not to support the registration of a village green.

The committee voted to approve the village green application – five in favour to one abstention.