Archbishop of Canterbury called into row over sports development plans in South Shields park

Temple Memorial Park campaigner Ronnie Mews and Canon John Miller
Temple Memorial Park campaigner Ronnie Mews and Canon John Miller

The Archbishop of Canterbury is being called upon to get involved in a row over the proposed building of a new sports complex on Temple Memorial Park.

Father John Miller - who was instrumental in a previous campaign to block the building of a school on the land 10 years ago - has written to the Most Reverend Justin Welby, who previously served as Bishop of Durham.

He is calling on the leader of the Church of England to ask the Ecclesiastical Church Commissioner’s to re-think and review any decision to change the covenant placed on the land which would then allow Westoe Rugby Club to build its new sports complex.

Friends of Temple Memorial Park have already handed in hundreds of objection letters to the plans to build a new sports complex on the fields of Temple Memorial Park, and to fence off some land from public use.

Campaigners say the land was gifted to the people of South Shields in recognition of their efforts during the Second World War, and is a recognised war memorial.

Father Miller, said: “I have written to the Archbishop to make him aware of the situation and to ask if he would call upon the commissioners’ asset department to review decisions over the change of the covenant.

“This land was gifted to the people of South Shields as open space and it should be retained as open space for the people of the town for good.

“There are other options. Have they considered Chuter Ede for example?”

During a Friends of Temple Memorial Park meeting, campaigners called for people to contact local councillors and send letters to the Church Commissioners to let them know their feelings over the proposed plans.

Claire Wood, chairman of the group said: “We would encourage everyone to write to the Commissioners and let them know why we object to the plans.”

People are being asked to email views to crawford.mackay@churchofengland.org