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29 June 2019Changes at Selman Park - Parish Council Statement

Public Statement re Planning application and Heddon Junior expansion plans for Selman Park.

On review of the recent planning application submitted by Liam Duffy, Chairman of Heddon juniors FC in May 2019 Heddon PC convened a special meeting to discuss the application in all of its merits and see if it could actively work with and support the junior fooball club moving forward with its application.

Unfortunately, due to some of the detail it was agreed that Heddon Parish Council could not support the application or the further development of Heddon juniors up at the Selman Park facility.

The decision was not taken lightly with many avenues and options discussed, unfortunately none of the options discussed would have assisted the juniors in the short term and would therefore hinder the future development of Heddon juniors growing squad numbers, currently advertised at over 14 Squads.

The main areas of concern further to the planning application were as follows:

1.The access to the current facility is congested at the best of times as it is a single-track lane with minimal passing places (Heddon PC could find no option to assist here)

2.The traffic has already caused major issues with farmers and residents over the last two years and would only get worse with two fields been used for pitches 7 days a week

3.The introduction of further traffic would only further compound the above issue

4.The whole expansion plan relied on the continued use of Selman Park, which was on a short term let year to year. This potentially meant that juniors could have moved away at any point and left the village with a field next to it run by an organisation from outside of the area that did not understanding our local area and the surrounding Heritage status and the impact that future changes would have on the local area.

5.The neighbouring property in a rural area is now already impacted by training sessions most nights of the week, with two sessions running most evenings and multiple on both days of the weekend, so expansion in squads will only make this matter worse.

Summary

To summarise Heddon Parish Council would like to clarify that the original plans for Selman Park were always to be for the youth and people of Heddon with a small amount of use by 3rd parties.  Unfortunately,  but well done to Heddon Juniors, the rate of expansion and the addition of even further teams mean these plans would now see the facility mainly used by a 3rd party organisation most of the week, with the knock on effect of local children and residents not being able to use the facility.

The council has put together a committee to encourage and plan the growth of use of the field by local residents, to encourage youth football and a variety of other sports that residents of the village are interested in and also fun activities such as the village show or fun sports days. Should anyone want to be a part of this team please contact the Parish Clerk.

Heddon Parish council would like to wish the juniors all the success moving forward with their plans for expansion and growth and thank them for the association over the past two years.

Kind regards Heddon Parish Council

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