Peterborough City Council has confirmed it will submit new plans following an updated legal opinion to erect fences on green lands adjacent to Staniland Way. The plans were originally submitted in 2019, and the 2m fence proposal faces huge backlash from residents and the community.
In an email to the Save Werrington Fields campaign group, deputy director: Education Capital and Place Planning, Hazel Belchamber confirmed that she looked at the legal advice. He said: “This has led us to conclude that Cabinet Member for Children Services, Education, Skills and University, Cllr Lynne Ayres, should recommend in his Cabinet Member Decision Notice that Council is expected to apply for a building permit for a material change in use of the portion of the Werrington Fields that would be surrounded by the fence.
“Subject to the granting of the building permit and the approval of the Ministry of Education, the area to be demarcated would be that described as option 2 in the background information previously released.” Cabinet members’ notice of the decision would then be released in early January, which may come under scrutiny if Peterborough city councilors seek an “appeal” of the decision.
In an access to information request submitted to Peterborough City Council on the cost of the process so far, it was found that £ 24,140 had been spent on legal and advisory fees. Jenna Nyiak, a resident of Werrington and member of the Save Werrington Fields group strongly disputes the new plans. She said: “This is yet another admission that the council was trying to sneak illegally through the fences of Werrington Fields. And we also now know that they kept the alliance that protected the field a secret during the last planning consultation.
“Mismanagement and blunders have cost local taxpayers well over £ 24,000 so far in legal fees and consultants, and that does not include the latest quality control advice. The previously planned smaller sized fence was estimated to cost £ 75,000 and now they’ve doubled the size of the area they want to take so it will cost even more! And all this at a time when the council is suspending all projects that are not essential.
“With the Werrington Recreation Center closed to the public for the exclusive use of the school, the local community is now at risk of losing even more of the fields to the school. What sports facilities will the community have left?
“It makes no sense when football teams of all ages continue to use the pitches after school hours for trouble-free games when the principal deems it too dangerous for the students.” A spokesperson for Peterborough City Council said, “We are still planning to proceed with the request which will help resolve a school protection issue.” The update comes amid Peterborough City Council which announced earlier this month that all non-essential services would be suspended due to their financial situation. Some residents have expressed concerns that this will be a “new and non-essential expense”. The CCP responded to these claims and said, “This will be taken into account as part of the council’s budget arrangements for spending.”