COUNTY bosses will apply to install homes for the vulnerable and elderly on land that could solve Uttoxeter’s sporting facilities black hole.
The land on Stone Road, owned by Staffordshire County Council, was initially earmarked for ‘recreational or educational use’.
Uttoxeter Rugby Club and Uttoxeter Town Football Club want to use it for youth sport activities.
With both clubs expanding rapidly and a lack of sports pitches in town, 9,000 people signed a petition against the county council’s plan to sell off the land for housing.
And, two weeks ago, the site was removed from the borough local plan, which identifies sites for housing in the next 20 years.
But, in a letter to Uttoxeter Town Council, county council leader Philip Atkins confirmed his authority would still submit a planning application to use the land for ‘extra care housing’.
He said: “The county council has a duty to taxpayers to maximise its capital receipt from the sale of any surplus land.
“This will ensure that money from any sale can help provide much-needed facilities for the local community.
“Uttoxeter is a town that has a defined need for extra care housing and the land at Stone Road is considered a good, sustainable site that will meet the needs of the community.
“It is the county council’s intention to continue to submit an outline planning application on this land for extra care housing.”
Town councillor Andrew Riley said: “This is the county council pulling at people’s heart strings with their extra care idea.
“The people of Uttoxeter don’t want housing on that site and the thousands of people who have signed a petition prove that.
“As a town council, we need to do everything possible to ensure that land is used for educational or recreational use, as that’s what’s badly needed.
“It wasn’t long ago that the county council were here telling us they had no plans to develop the site.
“It seems one officer doesn’t know what the other’s doing at county level.”
Extra care housing is designed to serve the needs of frailer, older people, with care and support available on-site.
Extra care houses are self-contained homes and a legal right to occupy the property.