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Children in Cornwall launch campaign to help save play area

Children in Cornwall launch campaign to help save play area

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 6:41am 30th July 2020.

Written by Richard Whitehouse, Local Democracy Reporter

“Save our play area” – that is the message from a group of children who are hoping a housing developer will listen to their plea.

A green space at the end of the Comfort Wartha cul-de-sac in Constantine has been used by children as a play area for around 35 years.

But developer Crownmark Developments wants to build a house on the land.

Cornwall Council refused planning permission for the new property in September last year but now residents fear that the plans will return.

When the eight houses in the cul-de-sac were built in 1985 there was a Section 52 order placed on the green space at the end of the road to protect it from being developed.

The order, set by the former Kerrier District Council, also saw £1,584 being paid for the maintenance of the land.

As a result it has been used as an informal play area by at least two generations of children who have lived there. One local resident has also placed a picnic bench on the area for locals to use.

But now Crownmark has applied for the Section 52 order to be lifted which could pave the way for a house to be built on the land.

constantine play area
The play area that children in Comfort Wartha, Constantine want to protect from being developed

 

Christo Fogelberg, who lives close to the play area, said that it is a treasured space for children and families in the area.

“I really don’t want the development to go ahead. My wife and I just moved here – to be nearer to her mother, who is in poor health – and our children, aged four and seven, love the open section.

"Before COVID it was somewhere they could safely and easily play outside with friends and still be within sight of home. Now, during COVID, it is the only place they can go to see their friends at an appropriate social distance.”

Christo Fogelberg, local resident

Mr Fogelberg is also concerned that if Crownmark is successful in having the Section 52 order lifted it could mean that other play areas in Cornwall could also be under threat.

It had been suggested that the developer could provide funding to help improve other alternative play areas but Mr Fogelberg said the nearest alternative is half a mile away and would involve crossing a busy road.

He said he was working with the parish council to help protect the land and had approached MP George Eustice for support.

constantine play area
The play area that children in Comfort Wartha, Constantine want to protect from being developed

John Bastin, local Cornwall councillor for the area, has been supporting local residents in their bid to protect the area.

“As far as I am concerned the Section 52 document was signed and witnessed and as such is still a fully binding legal document. The west planning committee agreed with me when I took it to committee and they supported my argument by turning the application down.

“This play/amenity area has to my personal knowledge always been used as such and indeed over the lockdown period has been invaluable, providing a save place for children and adults to get some fresh air and a relax.

“It is vital in this time of climate emergency to protect any open green space within communities and this is an opportunity for a planning inspector to underline this , inline with government pledges on climate change action.”

John Bastin, local Cornwall Councillor

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