Residents call to meet with council to discuss new sports club plan for Temple Park
Residents fighting plans to build a new sports club on public land in South Tyneside are demanding face to face meeting with council chiefs over the scheme.
Opponents of a plan for Temple Park, South Shields, want council chiefs to reject a bid by the South Shields and Westoe Club to relocate there from its home of 168 years a mile away, in Wood Terrace.
The club wants to build new rugby and cricket pitches, as well as squash and tennis facilities, to match its vision of expansion.
Its present site would be sold to developers, who want to construct 82 luxury homes.
More than 1,000 people have already signed up to a petition to try and scupper the multi-million-pound proposal and protestors hope to hit 1,500 by the weekend.
Campaigners are also calling on councillors and officials at South Tyneside Council to meet with them to discuss the plans and answer questions that they claim are not being addressed.
Gerard New, 48, who helped set the petition in motion, said: “Residents have met to discuss our next steps and we are asking people to submit their objections to the plans.
“Some people think it is just a couple of rugby pitches, but it is a vast amount of space that is going to be taken away from the public.
“The council is doing nothing to engage with the local community to explain why this is being pushed through.”
He added: “There are lots of questions still to be answered. We don’t know how much the council are saving by getting rid of this public land they have to maintain and we don’t know how much the council are going to gain from this.
“We have asked to a meeting with the council to ask these question face-to-face.”
The new complex would be fully-funded through the sale of the Wood Terrace site and would be developed by Persona, the private sales arm of housing provider and charity, Home Group.
A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “Consultation is currently underway according to the rules set out in law as part of the planning application process. “This has included public notices, letters to local residents and press coverage.
“Any residents who wish to formally object to the planning application can do so and their views will be taken fully into account and considered by the Planning Committee in due course.
“The provisional agreement with the applicant is commercially sensitive at this time. “It is the council’s intention as landowner to improve sporting and community facilities within Temple Park for the benefit of the borough on a sustainable basis.
“Once received and considered, we will be contacting the lead petitioner with our response.”
Comments on the application can be submitted until Thursday, December 28, by visiting: www.southtyneside.gov.uk.
The petition can be found at: www.change.org/p/friends-of-temple-park-help-us-to-keep-temple-park-for-public-use