Housing plan would be 'abysmal' use of land


Staff reporter

CONTROVERSIAL plans to build more than 140 homes on playing fields near Blacon continue to attract strong opposition.

As the Leader reported earlier this month, Bark Street Investments has submitted plans for the development on Clifton Drive, off Sealand Road.

But residents fear the scheme will cause traffic chaos and serious flooding, while some sports clubs are now facing an uncertain future, with four football pitches and one rugby pitch set to be lost.

Currently leased to the University of Chester, the playing fields are used by students and clubs, including Waggon and Horses FC, Greyhound FC and Chester Gladiators RLFC.

So far more than 70 objections have been lodged with Cheshire West and Chester Council.

One objection, Christopher Faulkner claims building houses would be an “abysmal” use of the land and believes the sporting facilities should be improved.

He states: “There appears to be a will to erode any chance to host sports events in Chester, with a lack of commitment to preserving, or even improving existing land.

“To hand this over to housing developers would be a ridiculous waste of what is a good source of open land that provides an adequate sporting facility.”

Sealand Road resident Colin Alderson fears his home and those of his neighbours will become a “gutter” during wet weather.

He states: “The Sealand Basin and Sealand Road in particular are unable to cope as it is because of poor drainage and this proposed development would only add to the current problem.

“The increase in traffic will not only make pollution worse than it already is but the access onto Sealand Road is already extremely dangerous and this proposed development would make things even worse.”

Cllr Reggie Jones, who represents Blacon, has previously called on the council to devise a proper development brief for the Sealand Road area.

He believes the authority has failed to address problems with flooding, traffic and sewerage.

If the plans are approved, 142 family homes would be built on the playing fields, with the university using existing sports pitches at its Kingsway campus.

The university said relocating its sports pitches from Clifton Drive would ensure students had access to “first-class, modern sporting and recreational facilities”.

'Backwards step in terms of sports development'

LOSING the football pitches at Clifton Drive would be “hugely detrimental” to the Chester and District Football League (CDFL).

Honorary secretary Paul Graham fears two clubs could fold and the league will be forced to turn teams away unless the council starts to provide more facilities.

He said: “There is no real alternative for both Waggon and Horses FC and Greyhound FC. Both clubs may end up folding if they are driven out of their spiritual home.

“These pitches are needed. The loss of Clifton Drive will have a hugely detrimental affect on the CDFL, as our club base is starting to out-strip our local authority pitch availability.

“We are the largest provider of grassroots football in Chester and Wirral and if we lose these facilities we may have to start turning clubs away.

“It would be a backwards step in terms of sports development in the area and would leave a gaping hole in our plans for the future.”

Mr Graham said Blacon already had a shortage of football pitches, which would be made worse by the proposed development.

He said: “As a Blacon resident myself, it is shameful that there is currently only one pitch that may be used on our estate.

“Even this one is subject to the weather and more often than not is unplayable in the winter months due to flooding. The other two CWaC pitches are totally unusable due to tree roots protruding through the soil and collapsed drains. All this on a housing estate with more than 16,000 residents.

“These pitches are easily the best Chester has to offer. They are extremely well maintained and are an oasis in the otherwise desert of football facilities on offer in the area.”

See full story in the Chester Leader

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