Kingsmead Field sale plans branded a disgrace
FURIOUS residents opposed to the sale of Kingsmead Field crammed a council meeting to vent their anger at the deal.
The controversial decision to sell off the green field site to developers was blasted by Liberal Democrat leaders at a meeting of the full council on Thursday.
Campaigner Simon Pettman, from Market Way, Canterbury, branded the decision "disgraceful". He presented a petition of more than 650 signatures.
He said: "You must abide by the new planning framework.
Dyson DC50i - Bagless upright vacuum cleaner - BALL Technology -...View details
Terms: LIMITED STOCK OFFER. FREE delivery to most UK postcodes - Next working day dispatch.
Contact: 01664 491439
Valid until: Monday, May 27 2013
"This states that 'existing open space should not be built on unless a robust assessment has been undertaken which clearly shows that the open space is surplus to requirements'.
"Councillors are reminded that this is now a legal necessity."
Conservative portfolio holder for finance Peter Lee said: "This is just one small part of the Kingsmead area. The council voted for £5 million in improvements to the leisure centre.
"The only way we can do that is to achieve a capital receipt. We need comprehensive redevelopment of the site."
Liberal Democrat leader Alex Perkins criticised the decision to appropriate the land. He said: "Our own open spaces policy says that it is 'vital existing open space is protected from development.' You have paved paradise and put up a parking lot."
Protestors interrupted proceedings as a political squabble began, with one man shouting: "If this is a demonstration of local democracy in action it leaves a great deal to be desired."
The site had originally been intended to provide a home to a new primary school. And council bosses say the 2004 Kingsmead Development Brief supported residential development as a fall-back option.
But Mr Pettman said: "The Kingsmead area has been the site of extensive high-density housing development over the last few years and the Kingsmead Field is the only recreational open space left.
"The council still has the neighbouring old coach park and the Serco sites available for development. Why concrete over the area's only publicly accessible green field when there are brown field alternatives?"
Residents in the Northgate and St Stephen's areas of Canterbury have launched a campaign to protect the field at the website: www.kingsmeadfield.blogspot.co.uk