News Shopper 8/2/06

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Lewisham, Greenwich and Bexley - Wednesday 8 February 2006

Please save sports field


 Malcolm Bond, his three-year-old son Andrew and other residents protest against plans to build homes GC2773-03

FED-UP residents are pleading for a backer to come forward to give a disused playing field a sporting chance.

The Gaelic Athletic Association Sports Ground has been closed to the public for 12 years because the association wants to sell the land for housing.

Now residents near the site in Avery Hill Road, New Eltham, are urging a sports fan to step in with a bid to reclaim the playing field.

The sports ground, which has enough space for three football pitches, has been closed since 1994.

The land falls between the Greenwich and Bexley borough boundaries but Greenwich Council is responsible for its planning future.

Since the early 1960s the association has made 14 applications to allow housing to be built on the land.

Its latest proposal would see 261 homes built on the 13-acre site.

In recent years campaign group Residents Against Gaelic Environmental Destruction (RAGED) has fought to get the field back into public use.

RAGED chairman Malcolm Bond said: "We should be using all the sporting facilities we have.

"More housing is completely unnecessary.

"We are always moaning kids have nothing to do but children need open space to exercise.

"If there are any sporting organisations out there which think they can use the land we want them to come forward."

More than 150 people packed into New Eltham Library, Southwood Road, New Eltham, last week to voice their opposition to the housing plans.

A petition with 860 signatures has been handed to Greenwich Council.

Mr Bond added: "The field is in a very poor state but it is still retrievable. We are not going to give up."

Bexley Council is due to consider its response to the latest application at a planning meeting tomorrow night.

A Greenwich planning committee will then discuss the proposal once the consultation period is up later this month.

By Glenn Ebrey - 9:19am Wednesday 8th February 2006

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