08:19 Thursday 20 February 2014

Uttoxeter chiefs fight for football future of town

Written byRICHARD CASTLE

COUNTY bosses have come under fire for potentially denying Uttoxeter much-needed youth football facilities to sell their land for houses.

Staffordshire County Council owns land on Stone Road which was initially assigned for ‘educational purposes’.

However, land the land has now been offered up to be incorporated into the borough council’s local plan, which identifies sites on which to build housing across the borough.

And officials at Uttoxeter Town Council, speaking at their most recent meeting, want the land to be used to meet a shortage of facilities for young footballers.

Alan Noyes said: “County council leader Philip Atkins has not answered the question as to why this land can’t be used for a sports pitch.

“The idea of using this land for housing has been strongly objected to by the town council and local residents.

“If they enter a planning application, that whole process, which costs thousands of pounds, will have to be funded by the tax payer.”

Martin Blencowe said: “I’m just wondering what’s happened to the legacy the government promised us after the Olympic Games.

“We have a rapidly-expanding football club in Uttoxeter Town, which is moving up the leagues quite quickly.

“They’re already compressed into the land they use at Oldfields Sports Ground and the improvements for which they recently secured planning permission will only last them one or two more promotions.

“And here we are talking about building on land meant to be designated for sports and community use.”

Philip Atkins said: “This land was purchased a number of years ago for educational purposes but it was subsequently declared surplus to county council requirements.

“The county council is fully committed to proactively managing its property portfolio through the rationalisation of assets and raising capital receipts for local re-investment in Staffordshire.

“One such method of achieving this is through the promotion of surplus land with the potential for residential and employment purposes.

“The council will continue to bring forward developments in the right location to provide the right quality of infrastructure.

“In the case of our land at Uttoxeter, the council considers that all these criteria are met.

“However, it is possible part of this land may still be required for education use.”

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