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Pavilion Way playing fields to be sold to private developers
Plans to sell off the Pavilion Way playing fields to private developers were given the go-ahead last night, despite fierce opposition from members of the community.
Barnet Council’s Cabinet Resources Committee agreed to sell up to one acre of the fields in Burnt Oak to Taylor Wimpey for housing, and the rest to the Marco Polo Academy to build a new Chinese language school for 360 pupils.
The initial plans, which will be subject to a planning application, also include a sports facility which would be open to the public outside of school hours.
But people living in the area argued the land should be used solely for recreational use.
Among those fighting the plans are Burnt Oak Rangers who recently made a bid for the land. The club’s secretary, Deryll David, told last night’s committee about the need for decent sports facilities in Burnt Oak.
The 17-year-old said: “There may be parks but they’re overused and rundown, and there’s crimes that go on none stop – a couple of my players have been robbed in the parks.
“We need somewhere they can go and feel safe. What you’re proposing is almost a half try.
“We need one place in Burnt Oak that we can call Burnt Oak’s sports centre.”
Roger Lyons and Ammar Naqvi, perspective Labour candidates, also spoke out about the plans but were accused of “political grandstanding” by the committee.
Mr Lyons said: “There is no guarantee the local community would be able to use the site, or any of its facilities.
"The sale of the site would remove the possibility of having playing fields in contravention of the Olympics legacy commitment, prevent organised sports to combat obesity, drive local youth back onto the streets, and significantly increase traffic congestion.
“I appeal to the council to listen to local people – save Pavilion Way playing fields for local youth. Don’t destroy our legacy of green open spaces.”
But Mr Lyons’ plea was dismissed by the committee when they discovered he had collected more than 200 signatures calling for Barnet Council to abandon its plans to sell off Pavilion Way for housing, having failed to mention the proposed Chinese school and sports facility.
The committee also quashed arguments over a legal covenant on the land which was put in place when it was bought from London Transport in 1985 stating it must be used for community sports provision. Councillor Daniel Thomas said it “does not present a difficulty".
Speaking in favour of the plans, leader of the council, Councillor Richard Cornelius, said: “This site has been derelict for some times – it’s an eyesore. This scheme looks like the best way of dealing with it and bringing it into use for young people.
“This deal is very nearly a bird in hand and we would be unwise to discard it.”
The committee unanimously approved the proposal last night.
Speaking after the meeting, Deryll condemned the committee for not listening to him and for turning the conversation to politics rather than the matter at hand.
He said: “They didn’t respond to what I had to say – I’d half expect the council to listen to the people of the borough. They brought in more politics than common sense.
“But we’re not going to give up. We’ll be fighting it every single step of the way.”
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