Bid made to keep our fields forever

This Is Wiltshire: Long-term goal Stratton Council Clarke Paul Russell is applying to have three playing fields protected  Picture: STUART HARRISON Buy this photo Long-term goal Stratton Council Clarke Paul Russell is applying to have three playing fields protected Picture: STUART HARRISON

PLAYING fields across Swindon could be protected forever under a national scheme to provide a legacy from this year’s Diamond Jubilee and London 2012 Olympic Games.

Six green spaces used for recreation and grassroots sport will be shielded from developers if applications to the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge are successful.

Stratton St Margaret Parish Council has nominated fields in Meadow Croft, at the former Browns Brothers site in Green-bridge and behind the leisure centre in Grange Drive.

The other spots include Penhill Recreation Ground in Hillary Close, Moredon Playing Fields in Cheney Manor and Mannington Recreation Ground in Raybrook Park.

Paul Russell, clerk to Stratton Council, said: “We are registering the fields to try to make sure the open spaces we have left we have some control over and are preserved for as long as possible.

“In the past four years we have seen quite a number of fields either developed or proposed to be developed.

“If you look at a map of Stratton St Margaret all the little green spaces are being eaten away.

“We want to make sure the remaining areas are protected in perpetuity so residents still have spaces which are accessible where they can walk dogs and play football.

“From my personal point view having these spaces enhances the quality of life. We want to make sure they are protected.”

The scheme, run by the Fields in Trust charity, has been set up to ensure a permanent living legacy of the Jubilee and Olympics, protecting outdoor areas ranging from woodlands to gardens.

Each field nominated receives a commemorative plaque and a Royal Oak sapling and if approved will have further opportunities available to secure improvement funds.

A spokeswoman for FIT confirmed three nominations had been received from Stratton Parish Council and three from Swindon Council.

She said: “The Challenge is a Diamond Jubilee programme celebrating both the Jubilee and the Olympics and Paralympics.

“Recreational spaces will be protected in perpetuity to create a grassroots legacy in communities across the country.

“It is something tangible from 2012 which will benefit everyone.”

The spokeswoman added that the timescale and success of the process for the fields in Swindon depended on a legal process also involving the two local authorities.

If approved the green spaces will be legally protected as Queen Elizabeth II playing fields.

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