Following Central Beds Council’s publication of the local plan for Barton-le- Clay two sites have been put forward for development. In total it is proposed that six hundred and sixty six new houses are to be built.
One of the sites to be used (HAS04) is Luton Rd sports field used by Barton Rovers and Barton Rovers Youth Teams. The existing seventeen acres of green open space currently set out as eleven football pitches along with a changing pavilion were originally built using funds made available by the local planning authority and the developer (Section 106). This was done to compensate/enhance the village on the back of the Grange Rd estate village extension. The site was further improved by grants provided from the Football Foundation and the Lottery Foundation which enhanced the pavilion and installed vital drainage.
Not at any point has Central Bedfordshire Council shown any interest in building on the football field until recently, under the guise of the new Local Plan which has been ratified by the County Council and is now in a 6 weeks consultation period where we all have the opportunity to object.
So what do we know about site HAS04 that is factual and in the public domain?
- 3 acres of green belt land owned by Central Beds Council leased to Barton-le- Clay Parish Council as a Section 106 trade off by developers of Grange Rd Estate.
- The current value for development is estimated at twenty million pounds with none of that money going back to find a new sports site to replace the existing site let alone cater for the needs of six hundred and sixty six new houses.
- Any new site will be developer located and funded.
- NO new site has been highlighted but discussions have taken place with Central Bedfordshire Council Estates team who would not comment when questioned for this statement.
- The field to the south of the sports field is in discussion. This is 20% smaller than the existing site but let us not forget we will have to accommodate six hundred and sixty six more households sporting needs if all development takes place.
- As the proposed field above is in green belt and next to an area of outstanding natural beauty no development is permitted, i.e. changing rooms or floodlighting if a 3G pitch (similar to Wixams) was supplied by developers.
- The time scale published for new facilities is 2023-2032
- In Central Bedfordshire Councils playing pitch strategy it highlights the need for an artificial facility in Barton-le- Clay and the surrounding villages. This is something Barton Rovers senior and youth committees have been in discussions with Bedfordshire FA and The FA and until now had made good progress.
The points above are in Central Bedfordshire Councils documents but many of you won’t have had the chance to review these documents.
Whilst some local development is inevitable it must be done with some thought and consultation of the people this will impact. Our schools are currently full, we wait six weeks for a doctors appointment and social care for our elderly is almost non existent.
Then we can look at our village policing. Yes, keep looking as you will not find any.
So what do Central Bedfordshire Council propose?
- A thirty percent expansion in our village whilst taking away the sports facility with nothing concrete in the pipeline to replace it let alone expand it to accommodate the extra residents.
- The development of site HAS04 is poorly planned, badly thought out and building on the sports field is totally against why it was given to the village in the first place. Let’s not be forced into giving up our open space or our green belt for what is a ludicrous size of expansion for the infrastructure of the village.
- Any development on the football pitches will surely mean an end to both the senior and youth football teams as both need each other to survive. Yes, football pitches will need to be legally provided at some stage but without that logistical connection between the main club and junior pitches as there is now there will not be a club.
Based on the information above we urge you all to object to site HAS04.
Lets keep the village football club as just that, a club for all, young or old and something that the village needs and should be very proud of.