Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Norman Rodaway Playing Fields Threat

Local Lib Dems have voted to make these popular playing fields a target for developers.

The Lib Dems nationally are in a developer-friendly coalition with the Conservatives which threatens our green spaces and countryside with more and more development.  The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England  is among many groups and organisations that have seen the truth behind the government’s planning consultation.

And the Lib Dems locally are going along with the national policy to put development ahead of the protection of the environment by designating just about every green space in and around Hedge End as a possible target for the developers.

Amazingly this includes not just farmland but our parks and recreation grounds too.

“Small green field site” HE12 (Land East of Heath House Lane and South of Kings Copse Avenue) is better known as the Norman Rodaway Playing Field.

Despite it being the home of local organisations including Hedge End Rangers FC, Smiles Pre-School and 31st Itchen Scouts, and a favourite place for informal exercise and dog walkers, the Council reckon that up to 180 houses and flats could be built there.  Or it could be developed for employment purposes.

The Lib Dems haven’t completed their master plan to concrete over Hedge End yet, but I am worried that one of their justifications for building at Woodhouse Lane (despite their election promises to fight against building on County Council land) is that they can get the developers to provide “new playing fields for the community”.

Does Cllr Keith House want to provide these new playing fields in the north-east of Hedge End so that he can then force the current users of Norman Rodaway to relocate and free up even more land for housing?  He must admit that the Council has previous form when it comes to evicting leisure users who have invested years in a much loved location – just ask the Eastleigh Allotment Association.

We might think that the Norman Rodaway is safe because it is owned and managed by Hedge End Town Council, but the national Lib Dems in coalition with the Conservatives are telling local councils to sell their leisure assets to “save money

If we put all these national and local policies together, things are not looking good for Norman Rodaway.

Things are looking even worse when we look more closely at the minutes of Hedge End Town Council in February.  The Recreation and Amenities Committee had resolved that Council should apply to preserve the Norman Rodaway Sports Field as a recreation ground in perpetuity under a covenant which would have seen it designated a Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Playing Field.  Decisions of committees can be referred to full council at the request of an individual councillor, which is what Cllr House did on this occasion.   At full council he talked his fellow Lib Dems out of protecting the Norman Rodaway field in this way and instead diverted the protection to the Dowd's Farm Park.

9. To consider the following Resolution under Standing Order 34 (b)
Referred Cllr. Keith House
a) Recreation & Amenities 9 February 2011
Minute R55
That the Town Council make application for
the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge
Deed of Declaration for the sites of Norman Rodaway
Sports Field and Turnpike Way Sports Field.
Cllr. Keith House introduced this Motion expressing his concern
and reservations that by applying covenant restrictions on the
lands in question will make it very difficult for the Town Council
in the future to manage the land to its own advantage and
believed that the Town Council should not defer control to third
parties. He felt that it was more appropriate to designate Dowd s
Farm as ultimately the Town Council will never own the land
freehold but under a lease agreement with the Salvation Army.
Cllr. Keith House Proposed an Amendment to the Resolution,
Seconded by Cllr. Peter Hughes to read:
That the Town Council make application for the Queen
Elizabeth II Fields Challenge
Non-Charitable Deed of
Declaration for the site of Dowd s Farm.
13 For, 2 Against, 1 Abstention. AMENDMENT CARRIED.

 Did Cllr House as far back as February have plans ultimately to sell the Norman Rodaway for development?


  1. The more I read about future development in Hedge End, the less I like it. Something fishy seems to be going on behind the scenes...

  2. Will there be any green spaces left in Hedge End? I thought it had seen its share of development with Grange Park and the very recent Dowd's Farm which removed a hugh area of greenbelt and wildlife. Once the fields are concreted over, no doubt there will be blocks of flats on Greta Park.