'Don't build on our play area' plea from Sidmouth parents

WORRIED parents have collected more than 100 signatures on a petition begging Sidmouth developers not to build homes on an area used by their children to play in.

WORRIED parents have collected more than 100 signatures on a petition begging Sidmouth developers not to build homes on an area used by their children to play in.

Residents of Baker Close, Howarth Close and Lock Close were last month "shocked" to see that Devon and Cornwall Housing's proposals to construct 130 homes, up to 66 per cent of which will be affordable, on land off Stowford Rise included building over a popular play area used by kids.

Parents are concerned a new play area proposed by the developer is "out of sight" and turned out in force last week to tell the Herald: "We are all for affordable housing, but want to be able to keep an eye on our kids."

Baker Close grandmother Jan Jones, 69, and her daughter Sharon, 37, a mum of two, have since started a petition in the hope Devon and Cornwall Housing and East Devon District Council, which owns the land, will address their concerns.


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A planning application for the project could be submitted to EDDC in the next week.

"We're still in a position where things can change," said Jan. "We value the football field, it's the centre of our whole community. To dig it up and build houses there would be wrong. The new play facilities they told us about are down at the bottom of the proposed estate.

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"Children love to play football there and congregate and it's the centre of our whole community where we know our kids are safe."

Daughter Sharon said: "I can come out of my house and see where my kids are. It's central and could be made into a lovely park."

Jan's neighbour and mum of two Dawn Manley said: "We're all aware of stranger danger. We want to be responsible parents and don't want our kids pushed out where we can't keep an eye on them."

Devon and Cornwall Housing's regional development manager Rob Finch told the Herald that planners had incorporated "lots of community open space" for all ages, which including a 'kick-about' area, into their designs.

Of the kids' current football facility he said to keep the field wouldn't be "appropriate" in building or planning terms. He added new children's areas will be "overlooked" and this was "very important.

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