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Borehan Road's Yeates' Field safe for now

(February 07, 2011)
TOWN councillors were at least listening to the public this evening when they decided not to go down a road that would ultimately have changed the use of Yeates' Field in Boreham Road forever.
The field has been in the ownership of the National Trust since the late 1960s and in the past decade has been managed by the town council as an open space and is well used.
A possible change to upgrade the site so that a community orchard, allotments and facilities for schools along with efforts to enhance the biodiversity of the site was suggested by nearby resident Colin French.
Part of the plan for the eight acres involves a few houses.
Despite Mr French's worthy objectives his proposal was unpopular with the public.
Many speakers mentioned the need to retain a rare piece of public open space.
Duncan Boyd, from Bradfield Close, said: ''A lot of people use the area as has been stated and want it to stay the way it is - they don't want it municipalised.''
Brenda Coleman,also from Bradfield Close, said: ''We would need a huge number of volunteers to look after this field were the plans to be adopted.''
What would happen if enthusiasts/volunteers died or moved away?
Councillor Andrew Davis was most hostile to the proposal which he described as 'overkill' and he always opposed the building of houses on the land.
One of the benefits of the scheme was cited as the provision of allotments as currently there is a three year waiting list which adds up to just 30 people (the report however said 300 - a misprint).
Councillors do have it in their hands to get better and more equitable provision of allotments by getting people to accept half plots at a much cheaper cost and increasing the charge for a full plot - not all are fully utilised.

* One speaker mentioned that children are not often seen in the field because of dog mess - which took VFMs co-author Steve Dancey way back to his childhood spent just a few yards away - and this field was regularly getting him into trouble.
''I know this field intimately from the days when it was part of the farm that used to occupy the land at Prestbury Drive,'' he said.
''Despite only being six years of age I would often walk home from St John's School to Smallbrook Lane and take the short cut through the field.
''Unfortunately the grass was long and wet and my shoes would often be much the worse for wear, much to my mother's annoyance.
sd''I would certainly be very unhappy if the National Trust ever tried to sell this land for development but as I no longer live in this part of the town felt it was a matter for those who live nearby to make their views known to councillors.''

Pictured: Steve with his maternal grandmother outside her cottage home in Smallbrook Lane in 1961 - less than 100 yards from Yeates' Field

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