Progress is being made by the City Council to acquire the former Civil Service Sports Ground, behind Malmesbury Road. The council received approval earlier this year from the Secretary of State for Education to Compulsory Purchase the land.
The Council intends that the land is used as playing fields for local schools, including neighbouring St Marks School, as well as community use.
As part of the process the council has submitted a planning application to register the land as open space. The decision will be taken by the council's planning panel early in the New Year at a panel meeting in either January or February.
As your local councillors, Brian Parnell, Michael Ball and I have written formal letters of support. I also intend to speak at the panel meeting.
Bovis Homes and Stonechat (the development arm of the Civil Service Sports Club) have both objected and are arguing that at least some of the site should be developed for housing. We have been resisting these attempts to develop the site for many years and I will arguing strongly at the panel meeting that their submissions are rejected.
I am pleased to report that we have gained the formal support of Sport England who have unequivocally stated that in their view the whole site should be regarded as open space. I am very confident that the council will approve the application and that this will be an important step towards finally acquiring the land next year.