CONTROVERSIAL plans to create a play park in the village of Crambeck have been approved by councillors.
At a Ryedale District Council meeting last Tuesday, councillors approved the application for play equipment, including a zip wire, swings, a toddlers’ play fort and a youth activity play fort, on land owned by the 63 residents in Crambeck.
But the plans have divided the village, causing a 50/50 split following Crambeck Management Company’s application.
Resident Richard Pollard, whose home is adjacent to the land, spoke at the meeting and said he is not against a play park, but he would like to see a smaller development.
After the decision in favour, he said: “I am extremely disappointed that this has gone through. We will lose the football pitch as well, so there will be no more football or cricket.
“Everyone was absolutely gobsmacked when this was on the planning register, which is why we have this petition. Thirty-nine people signed the petition. We do not object to a play park, it’s just not in keeping with the village.”
Last year, the village, which lies on a Roman heritage site, was awarded a grant of up to £24,000 from Sita Trust after the playing field was granted Queen Elizabeth II status in 2012 under a campaign to protect outdoor recreational spaces in communities across the UK as a permanent living legacy of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Crambeck Management Company said that since 2010 parents and children in the village have been campaigning for a play area and a total of 22 letters of support were submitted to the council.
Parent and villager Rebecca Charlton said that children had also submitted letters expressing their desire for a play area.
She said: “In an age where we are really encouraging people to be active and go out and play this would give the children somewhere to be active in the village.”
Councillor Lindsay Burr said it was disappointing to see such a split between villagers.
“It is quite disappointing really that we have these differing views on this children’s play, park,” she said. “To me it seems like a fantastic idea and we have got to remember that we are hoping children will stop watching TV and get out and play.”
However, concerns about noise and parking were raised by villagers, as well as road safety issues.
Although the Highways Agency has no objections to the plans, there were worries about children crossing the A64 from a nearby housing estate to get to the play park.
After the meeting, villager Louise Pollard said: “Road safety of the children and anyone who tries to cross the busy A64 on foot is at risk, and for this reason alone, we don’t want to be any part of this public facility.
“At what cost is this play park? In my opinion it certainly secures the loss of a very unique and private village.”
After the plans were approved by the planning committee, Crambeck Management Company met and decided it will go ahead with the scheme, despite initial suggestions that residents would be consulted on funding matters first. Peter Sellar, secretary of the management company, said he was delighted by the council’s decision and estimated that the total cost of the park would be about £24,600.
However, to access Sita’s grant, residents will have to contribute 11 per cent of the total cost, £2,640, from the £20 a month homeowners in the village currently pay towards the land.
Holes will have to be drilled in the playing field, under the instruction of English Heritage, which has granted schedule monument consent for the plans, to ensure that no Roman heritage lies underneath the site.
Mr Sellar said the company is currently adding up the cost of the drilling, along with the possible maintenance and insurance costs.
“In view of the unanimous vote of confidence by the planning committee, we will definitely be going ahead with the project,” he said.
“On-going running costs, including insurance, will be met from fundraising activities. We will be writing to all residents informing them of this decision and giving them an opportunity to comment.”
The cost of the play park will be funded from four sources – the Sita Trust grant, the management company’s funds, the Crambeck Sports and Social Club funds and donations from the public.
Mr Sellar originally said the company would consult villagers before deciding to go ahead with the plans.