Girl, 9, in plea to save field
TORBAY mayor Gordon Oliver has agreed to re-think plans to sell-off a field in Paignton after being presented with a petition by the community.
The site in Foxhole has long been earmarked for housing as part of the council's asset disposal programme.
But during a visit to the field he was handed a 350-signature petition by nine-year-old Courtney Sedgbeer urging him not to sell to developers.
He then promised to restart consultation on the future of the field, allowing the community to come up with alternatives of their own.
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One idea is that the field could be kept as open green space owned and maintained by the community.
The future of the field, off Redwell Lane, has been in question since it was included in a list of assets the council wanted to sell to save money.
The community asset transfer programme deemed the field surplus to requirements due to the cost of maintaining the grass and hedges.
A plan to build a play park on the land was rejected by the community but the council have said that doing nothing is not an option.
Ward councillor Dave Thomas said the decision to start the process again was a chance for the community to tell the mayor what they wanted to do.
He added: "The mayor has effectively provided a stay of execution and will not immediately sell the land.
"He will put the scheme back to the beginning and back to the community asset transfer board.
"It gives the community another opportunity to say what they want to do.
"They have said they would like to keep it as a green space, maybe put some benches there and look after it themselves.
"It's good news for the community."
Resident Philip Chapman said the field would be sorely missed if used for housing.
He said: "It is in the heart of the community but the council has decided it is no longer required.
"People use it to walk their dogs and the children to play.
"But if they build houses here there will then be nowhere for the children to play.
"We hear a lot about healthy living and letting children play outside but if the council sell off each bit of land there will be nothing left."