Friday, August 31, 2012

Stand up and be counted

This week the full applications for Yarm School's latest developments were validated and are open to comment.  The extent of them is almost, but not quite, unbelievable.  Numerous sports pitches of one kind or another - 4 Senior Rugby Pitches, several junior pitches, mini pitches, training pitches, 2 all weather pitches, rounders pitches, cricket pitches for juniors and seniors, an athletics track and an area for triple jump and the like.  All this to be fenced off from public access.  A hospitality pavilion will be built into the bank so that it has panoramic views of the lower pitches.  And of course there will be storage needed for the grass cutters, liners and so on.
Add to that some changes (described as improvements) to the farmland to provide a  "public park" area for Yarm and a car park behind the flats at the bottom of Stoney Bank, supposedly to provide extra parking for Yarm town centre.
Access from Yarm to the pitches and the parkland would be via a new footbridge with a secure access from the school and a public access from Atlas Wynd.
The detailed plans can be seen on the SBC planning website and although they're big documents it's worth having a look and commenting on them.  This whole development is within the area of the Tees Heritage park designated as the Tranquil Zone and will be anything but tranquil if rugby, rounders, cricket and athletics are going on.
The biodiversity of that area at present is wonderful.  Walking along there last weekend we saw a variety of birds, mice scurrying away from us into the crops, insects galore, sheep, loads of wild flowers and different kinds of grasses.  Goodness knows what was hidden from view by the vegetation or living out its life under the ground.  Most of that would be lost if it became manicured and painted sports fields and public parkland, neatly trimmed and "looked after".
Many residents are already up in arms about it, and rightly so.  Alan, Lesley and I have been told in no uncertain terms why it shouldn't happen and we will oppose it, though Alan will have to remain open to persuasion at the committee meeting.  Get in touch if you want to be part of the campaign.

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