Tews Lane plans were ‘misleading’ say residents

Joseph Bulmer

Fury over planning notice description

FURIOUS Roundswell residents claim they have been hoodwinked by council planning notices advertising proposals at a local sports field.

The application for a disabled toilet and shelter at Tews Lane sports field was described as an “extension to sports centre” on planning notices posted during a two-month public consultation period from October 7.

The plans, submitted by Fremington Parish Council, were given full planning approval by North Devon Council on January 7 but residents have complained that the notices were misleading.

Roundswell Community Centre committee chairman Graham Turner said the new toilets were talked about at a meeting of local residents last week.

“They weren’t happy about it,” Mr Turner told the Gazette.

“Lots of them had read the notice and were not concerned because they thought it was all about extending the sports hall.

“But we’ve had problems with vandals down here in the past and a shelter and toilet will encourage troublemakers.

“We can’t do anything about it now but we feel like we’ve had the wool pulled over our eyes; the council received only four objections to the proposals but I’m sure that if the wording on the planning notice was different, they’d have received a lot more.”

Police crime figures reveal five incidents at Tews Lane from October 2008, including arson, criminal damage and burglary.

The parish council said the application was submitted due to requests from regular users to the Tews Lane Sports and Recreation Association, and that information about the plans was presented during an open day in 2009.

It said the windows would be made from “unbreakable” strong plastic and that the shelter would provide added storage as well as shelter for people playing and watching football and other sporting activities. People will be able to access the disabled toilet using a radar key.

But Mr Turner also questioned the need for a disabled toilet at the sports field.

“There is already a disabled toilet – as well as a gents and a ladies – in the existing building that can be accessed when the field is being used for sport; so why build a new one that can be used 24-7, but only by disabled people with a key – it just doesn’t make sense.”

Council planning officer Keith Bines said the application was for an extension to the sports centre, which was stated on the planning notice.

He said: “Residents with interests or concerns about any planning applications can find out more information by visiting the council website at www.northdevon.gov.uk, by contacting the council, or visiting the civic centre.”