Plan for sports pitch on parkland goes to public inquiry

CONTROVERSIAL plans to lay out a floodlit artificial sports pitch in London Fields common land is now going to a public inquiry.Conservationists maintain the parkland should be protected from development and kept as open space

By Peter Sherlock

CONTROVERSIAL plans to lay out a floodlit artificial sports pitch in London Fields common land is now going to a public inquiry.

Conservationists maintain the parkland should be protected from development and kept as open space.

News that the proposals by the local authority is to go before a Government inspector in December has been welcomed this week by the London Fields Preservation Society.

Society chairman Syd Bolton said: "Enclosing sections of the Fields behind wire mesh and laying large swathes of tarmac across the grass is more in keeping with a prison yard and a grand prix track than an ancient common."


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BATTLE LINES

Battle lines have been drawn since Hackney Council announced the plans two years ago to put in a 90ft-long paved pitch where grass grows now and surround it with a 6ft fence to provide basketball and five-a-side football.

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The London Fields User Group, which helped draw up the plans, believes there is plenty of support for the proposals.

User group chairman Mike Martin said: "We are more or less confident that the plans will go ahead. Most people are interested in going for sports facilities."

The public inquiry takes place at Hackney Town Hall on December 9 to hear evidence from both sides.

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