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Residents unite against plans for two new homes on Thorley Park land used as a play area

Land between Winchester Close and Ashdale, Bishops Stortford. Application to build on the land has been placed. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (6973291)
Land between Winchester Close and Ashdale, Bishops Stortford. Application to build on the land has been placed. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (6973291)

Residents and ramblers have united to oppose plans to build two detached houses at Thorley Park.

The land to the north-east of Winchester Close, off Friedberg Avenue, has been used as a play area for at least 30 years.

Neighbour Richard Funnell’s objection to East Herts Council is typical of those submitted by residents.

He said: “As a homeowner in Winchester Close since the houses were built in the 80s, the land where the proposed development is located has always been segregated for use as a play area.”

He discovered that the latest sale of the plot is “part of a Carillion liquidation of assets”.

He said: “Part of the original planning stipulation for Winchester Close was that this area of the original development would be designated as a ‘play and recreational area’.

“Walter Lawrence, the original developer of Winchester Close, provided this land as part of the development which was given to the council for maintenance over 30 years ago.

“There are no other areas in close proximity to this land that offers any safe recreational facilities.

“Over the past 30 years many families and children have used this space for football, rounders, games of various types... a general area for young groups to socialise and even picnic. It is a very popular space for parents as it is ‘safe’ and in close proximity of many family homes.”

His concerns were shared by Dave Webber, who lives at Thorley Park and is chair of the Bishop’s Stortford and District Footpaths Association, which regularly scrutinises plans submitted across the town to ensure they respect public rights of way and other routes used by pedestrians.

The land at Winchester Close is used as a link between estate footpaths, particularly for shoppers using Sainsbury's supermarket and other shops at the neighbourhood centre.

Members of Bishop’s Stortford Town Council’s planning and development committee backed those concern. Cllr Stan Stainsby's recommendation that the council should object on the grounds of loss of public amenity and access was carried.

East Herts Council will make the final decision on the proposals submitted by Ser Contractor Ltd, of Dorset Road, London.

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