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Bodmin residents fight to save their recreation area

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: February 06, 2013

OUR SPACE:   Gilbert Road residents protesting over the loss of their recreation area.

OUR SPACE: Gilbert Road residents protesting over the loss of their recreation area.

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BODMIN residents are fighting a battle with a housing developer to stop construction vehicles rolling over their recreation area.

People living in Gilbert Road have sent a 95-signature petition to Cornwall Council's planning department urging it to block a request by Barratt Homes for authority to use the estate's open space as an access road for the next two years while they build further houses on its Canyke Fields' site.

Derek Atkinson, who is co-ordinating the campaign on behalf of the residents, claimed Barratt told residents that after the Gilbert Road phase of the development was completed, further phases would be built via a different access off Priory Road, but that no longer seemed the case.

"There is very little provision of open space within the Barratt development and this proposal will remove an area which is well used by the community for recreation," said Mr Atkinson.

"It is used for children's recreation, dog-walking, street parties, and things like barbecues, all of which would be curtailed for some considerable time.

"Gilbert Road is now an established residential area with parking at a premium at all times of day. The movement of large lorries or plant will present an unacceptable risk to children, pedestrians and traffic when alternative routes via Canyke Fields have already been established.

Mr Atkinson said dust, mud, fumes and noise caused by heavy traffic driving past residents' homes would cause a further unnecessary hazard considering that an established route is already approved.

Another Gilbert Road resident, Vicky Orchard, said she would not have purchased her home if she had known her life would be disrupted by construction vehicles.

"It's our only recreation area and is for the public to use, and we do use it a lot, but no one will be able to do that for two years or more if Barratt Homes get their way, and the misery and disruption it will cause to all of us will be significant," she said.

Cornwall councillor Lance Kennedy has met with residents and said the company would have to put in a formal planning application.

"Following discussions with planning officers and legal considerations, it has been decided to grant the application for a certificate of lawfulness, but with a narrative that the proposed construction would be in breach of a Section 106 agreement," he said.

"There are a number of ways that the application can be pursued but I am satisfied that it should be done through a formal planning application. If and when such application is submitted I feel it will be in the public interest to have a formal committee hearing which will allow all those involved to make representations."

Barratt Homes managing director Tim Larner said: "As a responsible housebuilder, Barratt is keen to explore all options for safe access to the development and this is one of those currently under consideration between ourselves and Cornwall Council as planning authority."

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