2:40pm Monday 15th March 2010
By Alex Hayes
RESIDENTS living near a large sports ground recently sold to a community trust fear an increase in its use will bring huge amounts of traffic to the area.
In December Camden Council agreed to sell the Chase Lodge Playing Fields in Mill Hill to a local community fund who say they want to hold up to 70 sessions a week on the fields.
The Camden Community Football and Sports Association (CCFSA) bought the site for £700,000 and is looking into regenerating the 16-acre ground in Page Street.
However, landlord Mike Connolly, who owns a groundsman's cottage on the site, said he fears the planned increase in use will damage the property's value.
He said: “We have been told absolutely nothing about this planned sale. From what I understand they intend to intensify the use of the fields, which will bring in more traffic and noise.
“At the moment it's quite quiet there, but this has to have a detrimental impact on the property values. They seem to think they can go through this without the need to ask local people.”
Parent Anne-Marie O'Leary, whose home overlooks the site in Pursley Road, also expressed concerns about an increase in traffic and the future of local football teams that play there.
She told the Times Series: “If they are going to start using the fields a lot more then it will obviously bring more traffic which won't be good for us.
“My sons also play for Pinnacle FC and they train there in the summer and play there at weekends. We haven't been told about this, so will they be able to use the pitches still?
“I think it will be good if they are more looked after as things are quite run down there at the moment.”
The site does not officially transfer to CCFSA, which has been supported by the Marathon Trust in the purchase, until April 1.
Diane Culligan, the chairman of the charity, said there is no need to worry about the future of the pitches.
She said: “It's a community playing field so we want to improve what's there at the moment with things like girl playing football and children with special needs being able to use it as well.
“We're going to reconfigure the pitches and potentially put junior pitches in.
“Local teams will be able to use the pitches it's just a community organisation has got together to try and run them better.”
She added there would also be work to renovate run-down changing rooms and to fix broken tennis courts at the site.
Camden Council is set to use the cash from the sale of the site to regenerate a nursery and play scheme.
Councillor Flick Rea, who is in charge of culture for Camden, said: "We're delighted that the land at Chase Lodge will be run and owned by a Camden community group, dedicated to promoting sport in north London.
“Its future now looks secure and should provide a great base for our own local teams who formerly were homeless."
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