Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting NORTHERN ECHO to 80360 or email us
People living in Firthmoor, Darlington, start petition against 24-home proposal on popular grassed land
RESIDENTS have started a campaign to stop a housing development on popular recreational land.
Plans have been unveiled to build 24 properties on a narrow grassed area between Buxton Moor Crescent and Edgemoor Road, on the Moorfield estate, in the Firthmoor area of Darlington.
The development, submitted by North-East social landlord Vela, includes 14 two-bedroom and ten three-bedroom homes, which would split into "rent to buy" and affordable rental properties.
The company says the homes will help reduce the lack of affordable housing in Darlington.
However, more than 160 residents have signed a petition to stop the proposals.
Eddie Richardson, 66, of Buxton Moor Crescent, said the land was not appropriate for any development.
He said: “I’ve lived up here for 60 years and grew up playing with friends on that land.
“It is a lovely area and all the children play on it, it’s packed in the summer with football games and parties.
“I just find it amazing they are even looking to build on that land; it has a beck running under it and we used to call it Jelly Island because it was like a bog with all the water.
“We cannot understand why they have chosen that area of land when there are other places in Darlington, like up at Lascelles Park, which could take the houses much easier.”
The grassed area, separated by a public footpath, is used by children living in Buxton Moor Crescent, Edgemoor Road and Emley Moor Road, and includes a small football pitch, complete with goalposts.
Kevin Nicholson, chairman of the Firthmoor and District Community Association, said the area had been designated as a football pitch in 2001 after children held a petition.
He said: “This is a vitally important green space for children who like to take part in sport.
“It is the only one where they can play outdoors without travelling too far from their homes, and where they feel safe.
“After the petition, resources were allocated to pay for the goals to be erected and the whole green has been well used.”
The deadline for responses to Darlington Borough Council over the plans is Friday, January 4, and a decision is expected in March.