Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Alan Whitehead's Mixed Messages on Civil Service Ground

This morning I came across this article on the Civil Service Sports Ground in Freemantle on Labour MP Alan Whitehead's website.

The matter of the Civil Service Ground is still unresolved, howver there is a cross party view that the land should remain as green space and not be built on and that the public should have access.

The future of the land is tied up in the review of secondary education which is currently on in the city. The picture on the future of the schools will become clearer later this month when the Lib Dem Cabinet Member for Children's services outlines her preferred approach.

One idea being pushed is that the land could be acquired for St Marks school or a new school(s) on the St Marks site.

Alan Whitehead muddies the waters when he says "In 2004 the City Council approved the sale of the former Civil Service Sports Ground in Freemantle to a housing developer."

This is simply not true as he well knows. The land was not owned by the Council. It was owned by the Civil Service Sports Association which entered into a private arrangement with Bovis Homes to sell the land to them.

Council planners have designated the land as green open space in planning terms and will resist any attempts by Bovis to build houses or flats on the land. The only danger in planning terms is that planning rules from Government now are so prescriptive and there are Government central and regional planning targets exist which the Council must achieve. A developer might try and push an planning application through on appeal on these grounds. If this happened I would hope we would do everything we could to fight it each step of the way.

Labour have sought to make this a partisan issue in the past. I really hope that they don't try and do so again as it is very unhelpful and in no one's interest.

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