Parish council backs measure to protect Northumberland village football pitch from future development
Belford Football Club’s pitch could be given a higher level of protection to protect it from future redevelopment.
Parish councillors have called for it to be a designated greenfield space rather than a recreational space in the village’s neighbourhood plan, currently being written.
Cllr Guy Renner-Thompson, parish council chairman and local county councillor, said: “A green space is a higher level of protection than a recreational area. A designated green space means it can never be built on and would be green space until 2032 when the neighbourhood plan runs out. Designation as a recreational area would give lesser protection and it could still be built on.”
Brenda Stanton, chairman of the neighbourhood plan steering group, told members she had spoken to the football club committee some time ago.
"I was told quite categorically that there was no way it would ever be sold for housing,” she said.
Cllr Steve White said: “We should go for the highest level of protection. A green space in the middle of the village is something we should keep if we can.”
The pitch is among the community assets being included in the neighbourhood plan.
“We’re very grateful to the county council for their work on the draft plan,” said chairman, Brenda Stanton. “We have a few little things that need doing, including the heritage assets in Belford. That is properties which aren’t listed but which are worthy of historic note."
Easington is also set to be included in the neighbourhood plan following its amalgamation into Belford parish.
Cllr Renner-Thompson said: “We didn’t want a delay in the adoption of the neighbourhood plan and the county council have advised that it will have no impact. The steering group said that, in that case, they will happily include Easington in the neighbourhood plan.”
The plan is expected to go out to public consultation in late spring/early summer.
Meanwhile, a volunteer ‘snow squad’ has been formed to clear footpaths following last month’s wintry weather. It will form part of Northumberland County Council’s snow wardens scheme.
A project to repair a wall next to the war memorial is also being progressed. Quotes for the work have been made and a request for a donation from the community group has been made.