Yardley residents gain cross-party support to save playing fields - The Solihull Observer

Yardley residents gain cross-party support to save playing fields

Solihull Editorial 3rd Oct, 2022 Updated: 5th Oct, 2022   0

RESIDENTS OF Yardley Wood have gained cross-party support in a renewed long-standing campaign to save their playing fields from developers.

The Conservative Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, Yardley Labour MP Jess Phillips and Liberal Democrat Yardley East Ward Coun Deborah Harries have all pledged to oppose plans by Persimmon Homes to build 87 homes on the land on Barrows Lane in Yardley, which is currently managed by Sport for Life International on behalf of Central England Co-operative Ltd.

The backing follows new claims of “underhand tactics” by Persimmon Homes to gain building permission.

Residents have condemned the house builder’s latest proposals for a development – to be marketed as Barrows Grove – for being “misleading” and “trampling over” their concerns.

Yardley residents have been campaigning for more than seven years to retain the Barrows Lane sports ground on land that was originally gifted to the local community by the Barrows family in 1920 under a covenant for the then-Birmingham Co-operative Society to act as the site’s guardian.

Fay Goodman, chair of Yardley Community Protection Society, said: “Persimmon have been using underhand tactics including a programme of managed decline to portray our land as unwanted and unsuitable, and been misleading in their intentions.

“They claim in their new promotional literature and their website for Barrows Grove that the Football Association have said that the pitches are ‘unusable’, yet the FA have denied ever being approached.”

Mr Street said: “As mayor, I’m committed to tackling health inequalities right across our region. Sites like these are crucial to tackling such inequalities by providing residents with ready access to a space for exercise and recreation.

“Throughout my time in office, we have always sought to protect the greenbelt and green field land by unlocking derelict brownfield sites for development. That’s exactly the approach that should be taken here so that we can keep open space intact.”

A spokesperson for Persimmon homes said: “We are working with Birmingham City Council to identify an alternative site to create new football pitches for the people of Yardley and for use by local sports teams.

“Barrows Grange will provide 87 much-needed homes for local people; more than a third of which will be transferred to a Housing Association provider, helping to address the housing shortage in Birmingham.”


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