Protestors picnic against proposals

PARK LIFE: Family and friends from nearby Oakfields picnic  along with other protesters against plans to develop this green area at Bellburn Lane, Darlington.    Picture: ANDY LAMB (7162135)

PARK LIFE: Family and friends from nearby Oakfields picnic along with other protesters against plans to develop this green area at Bellburn Lane, Darlington. Picture: ANDY LAMB (7162135)

First published in News

IT was a protest with a difference when hundreds of people descended on a Darlington field on Sunday.

Instead of wielding placards, protesters at Bellburn Field were equipped with rounders bats, picnic baskets and footballs.

In a bid to oppose council housing plans, and demonstrate how well the green space is used by local people, an afternoon of family fun was held on the site.

The fun day was organised by residents who have pledged to fight Darlington Borough Council every step of the way over plans to build 50 new homes on a field they say is constantly used for recreational purposes.

Hordes of visitors enjoyed traditional activities like rounders, football and picnics throughout the afternoon in an attempt to show the council the ways in which local people enjoy the site, which is situated close to Bellburn Lane, off Brinkburn Road.

Jools Aspinall has lived close to the field for ten years and says it plays a central part in the lives of all residents.

She said: “The fun day was just lovely and a real success.

“We are trying to stop any building work on the site as, in order to build on it, the council needs to prove that the land is surplus to requirements.

“With the fun day, we proved it is not. It is the only green space that we have – other green spaces in the area are not safe for children or are too far away to service this community properly.

“This field services it perfectly, it’s like our village green and that’s what we wanted to show.

“Everything that went on at the event goes on there day in and day out, we just arranged it on a larger scale.

“We want the council to understand the field is not surplus to requirements and we need it.”

A consultation event will be held concerning the development at St Mary’s Community Centre in Cockerton on Wednesday, June 18 from 4.30pm.

Ms Aspinall urged concerned residents to attend. She said: “People should understand that in order to have their voices heard they need to use all the mediums available.

“Hopefully the meeting won’t turn into a shouting match, though it’s difficult when people are extremely passionate and emotions are running high.”

Comments (11)

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4:18pm Mon 16 Jun 14

Chocmonster7 says...

It was a great turnout. We'd printed 200 comment forms and ran out, these were mainly being filled in by people who hadn't already sent their views to the Planning Department.

The Community has spoken, we just hope the Council are finally going to listen!
It was a great turnout. We'd printed 200 comment forms and ran out, these were mainly being filled in by people who hadn't already sent their views to the Planning Department. The Community has spoken, we just hope the Council are finally going to listen! Chocmonster7
  • Score: 18

4:47pm Mon 16 Jun 14

mikyman says...

Our local councillors attended.
Many people voiced their concerns to them but were told that they had to accept that houses would be built on the site or it would be sold to a private developer and they would have no open space at all!
This seems to be some sort of 'veiled' threat that local people should accept the position.
I'm not sure whose views our councillors are meant to represent.
PS great turnout and don't forget its election year next year!
Our local councillors attended. Many people voiced their concerns to them but were told that they had to accept that houses would be built on the site or it would be sold to a private developer and they would have no open space at all! This seems to be some sort of 'veiled' threat that local people should accept the position. I'm not sure whose views our councillors are meant to represent. PS great turnout and don't forget its election year next year! mikyman
  • Score: 11

5:33pm Mon 16 Jun 14

micamoo says...

Great to see so many of the residents joining together to prove to the planning department that this is the only greenspace that can sensibly and safely service the local community, and it is most definitely not 'surplus to requirements'
Great to see so many of the residents joining together to prove to the planning department that this is the only greenspace that can sensibly and safely service the local community, and it is most definitely not 'surplus to requirements' micamoo
  • Score: 17

9:03pm Mon 16 Jun 14

youngcrony says...

This is the first time I've seen this field populated so heavily. If an Echo photographer were to take a photograph of the field at the same time this Sunday, they are quite likely to find a field with only one or two people walking around on it.

This event that was held on Sunday was a waste of everybody's time. The council have already made their minds up - they'll build council houses on it, or sell it to a developer who will build houses on it.

Frankly, I'd much rather see a developer build on it than attract the vermin you typically find in a council estate.
This is the first time I've seen this field populated so heavily. If an Echo photographer were to take a photograph of the field at the same time this Sunday, they are quite likely to find a field with only one or two people walking around on it. This event that was held on Sunday was a waste of everybody's time. The council have already made their minds up - they'll build council houses on it, or sell it to a developer who will build houses on it. Frankly, I'd much rather see a developer build on it than attract the vermin you typically find in a council estate. youngcrony
  • Score: -10

9:12pm Mon 16 Jun 14

micamoo says...

Youngcrony. I didn't consider it a waste of my time, neither did my family and friends.
Reading ill informed rubbish like your comment. That's 60 seconds I'm never getting back!
Youngcrony. I didn't consider it a waste of my time, neither did my family and friends. Reading ill informed rubbish like your comment. That's 60 seconds I'm never getting back! micamoo
  • Score: 10

9:15pm Mon 16 Jun 14

Chocmonster7 says...

youngcrony you seem to be missing the whole point of the event.

It was organised to get everyone who uses the field at different times of the day for different activities in the same place at the same time. Nearly 400 of them turned out.

It certainly wasn't a waste of time, people within the community got to know each other, talked and realised they weren't alone in fighting to keep this greenspace for everyone to use in the future.
youngcrony you seem to be missing the whole point of the event. It was organised to get everyone who uses the field at different times of the day for different activities in the same place at the same time. Nearly 400 of them turned out. It certainly wasn't a waste of time, people within the community got to know each other, talked and realised they weren't alone in fighting to keep this greenspace for everyone to use in the future. Chocmonster7
  • Score: 11

9:36pm Mon 16 Jun 14

Spy Boy says...

mikyman wrote:
Our local councillors attended.
Many people voiced their concerns to them but were told that they had to accept that houses would be built on the site or it would be sold to a private developer and they would have no open space at all!
This seems to be some sort of 'veiled' threat that local people should accept the position.
I'm not sure whose views our councillors are meant to represent.
PS great turnout and don't forget its election year next year!
This is certainly a threat. Bill and Ada .com are a none sharing, non caring limited interest company and they want your money, your green spaces and your total submission. Tell them just where to stick their stupid threats. Maybe you should try the other local media too. This threat to our green spaces is just not on.

Try writing to Private Eye. The Eye has mentioned Darlington before. Check in Rotten Boroughs. An apt title for our council's little dictatorship.

Best of luck to all those fighting against this sort of behaviour. Vote them out anyway. They have sat in their ivory towers for far too long.
[quote][p][bold]mikyman[/bold] wrote: Our local councillors attended. Many people voiced their concerns to them but were told that they had to accept that houses would be built on the site or it would be sold to a private developer and they would have no open space at all! This seems to be some sort of 'veiled' threat that local people should accept the position. I'm not sure whose views our councillors are meant to represent. PS great turnout and don't forget its election year next year![/p][/quote]This is certainly a threat. Bill and Ada .com are a none sharing, non caring limited interest company and they want your money, your green spaces and your total submission. Tell them just where to stick their stupid threats. Maybe you should try the other local media too. This threat to our green spaces is just not on. Try writing to Private Eye. The Eye has mentioned Darlington before. Check in Rotten Boroughs. An apt title for our council's little dictatorship. Best of luck to all those fighting against this sort of behaviour. Vote them out anyway. They have sat in their ivory towers for far too long. Spy Boy
  • Score: 8

9:40pm Mon 16 Jun 14

Spy Boy says...

Darlington Council have already converted Alderman Leech school and its extensive grounds into a new housing estate. There was no need to sell the school, but there was money to be had from the sale of schools to free up even more building space. Looks like we, the ratepayers, were well out of pocket on that one.
Darlington Council have already converted Alderman Leech school and its extensive grounds into a new housing estate. There was no need to sell the school, but there was money to be had from the sale of schools to free up even more building space. Looks like we, the ratepayers, were well out of pocket on that one. Spy Boy
  • Score: 5

12:19pm Tue 17 Jun 14

Joe, Brinkburn says...

With the number of people who attended I think it was a great success, and I hope a reminder to our councillors that they are meant to represent us and what our feelings are regarding the current proposition.
My family and friends enjoyed the afternoon and everyone we spoke to was against the building on this land.

We need the same number of people at the consultation meeting tomorrow night at St Mary's community Centre. We need to push the point home that the people of the area do not want it and are not prepared to just roll over and accept it.

The infrastructure is not there to support these extra houses. there is one road in and out at Hartington Way and the same I think the other side on Bellburn Lane. The schools near by are turning children away and there are few if any vacancies at any of the Doctors surgeries in the area.
It is ridiculous and we should not accept it. Keep fighting!!
With the number of people who attended I think it was a great success, and I hope a reminder to our councillors that they are meant to represent us and what our feelings are regarding the current proposition. My family and friends enjoyed the afternoon and everyone we spoke to was against the building on this land. We need the same number of people at the consultation meeting tomorrow night at St Mary's community Centre. We need to push the point home that the people of the area do not want it and are not prepared to just roll over and accept it. The infrastructure is not there to support these extra houses. there is one road in and out at Hartington Way and the same I think the other side on Bellburn Lane. The schools near by are turning children away and there are few if any vacancies at any of the Doctors surgeries in the area. It is ridiculous and we should not accept it. Keep fighting!! Joe, Brinkburn
  • Score: 4

10:23am Wed 18 Jun 14

LUSTARD says...

good luck, go and buy a bong from guru and join the party
good luck, go and buy a bong from guru and join the party LUSTARD
  • Score: 0

7:59pm Sat 21 Jun 14

Mr Dixon says...

No one in the area want to lose the field, which is public land.
When will it sink in to the council they were nominated to represent the residents of Darlington
No one in the area want to lose the field, which is public land. When will it sink in to the council they were nominated to represent the residents of Darlington Mr Dixon
  • Score: 0

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