On 5th May 2017 I went to a public meeting on Windermere Fields. It had been rumoured that Attock Cricket club were planning to take over the fields, to build a club house and extend their facilities with a new cricket pitch. Residents had already had to stop council workers from mowing some of the long grass at the side of the field, which is especially left untouched due to nesting birds and other wildlife. At the public meeting Councillor Lisa Trickett promised there would be no buildings or loss of use to dog walkers or families and a full public consultation would take place, as part of any bid to use the fields.
On 27th June, after a long period of silence and with no public consultation having taken place, I discovered that on 19th May Springfield Councillors had signed off a Local Innovation Fund bid (council funds) for £20,000 to assist Attock Cricket club to cut hedges, cut overgrown grass, trim trees, hedges & shrubs, scarify, roll, aerate, seed and fertilise the field. Further funding had been obtained / was being considered to lay one astro turf and two grass squares at the site and for a pavilion and changing rooms. There were many inaccuracies and mis- information in the bid including that the field is neglected and under used and that the club was working with Friends of Moseley bog, neither of these statements were true. The bid had also failed to take into account the ecological and architectural importance of the fields, the impact on wildlife or the huge impact on parking and noise nuisance to residents living in close proximity to the field. Finally there was no consideration of a covenant on the land, which is believed to have been bequeathed to the city for use for dog walking and recreation.
I further discovered that the bid was due to go to cabinet the following day, on 28th June for full approval. This was brought to the attention of about 35 residents who came to a meeting that evening at the cricket club to discuss the bid. At that meeting Councillor Rehman declined the request to pull the bid from the next days cabinet meeting, despite the clear concerns and objections to the bid in its current form, by every resident there. Representations were then made at a Moseley Forum meeting the same evening which resulted in the bid being pulled the following day.
You might find it interesting to see the reason put forward for withdrawing the bid and the comments made in answer to a question by Councillor Jon Hunt (the Liberal Democrat leader) . You need to click on Cabinet Committee – Local Leadership 28th June – then no 7, Local Innovation Fund. The relevant times are 03:50, 15:20, 20:28 & 22:04 to 23:19
On 10th July 2017 Councillor Trickett finally sent an email to some of the residents concerned putting their minds at rest that this particular development was not going ahead.
Wax Wings in the Fields – February 2017
I am now helping Friends of Moseley Bog and local residents to set up a Friends of Windermere Fields to protect this beautiful piece of open space against future, poorly thought out land grabs. There are still opportunities for local cricket clubs to play cricket on the field, without having exclusive access. I will post further updates in due course, but if you would like to know more or to join the new friends group please contact me via my contact page.