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Plan to sell off Birmingham playing fields for housing slammed

Community anger as it emerges the Burford Road playing fields in Kingstanding have been earmarked for development

Antisocial behaviour is no excuse to sell off a playing field for housing, a leading city councillor has claimed.

The comments came after plans to build houses on the council-owned Burford Road playing fields in Kingstanding were revealed. Council bosses want to develop part of the site while leaving the remaining part as public open space.

The playing fields regularly host local football club games and are also popular with dog walkers and local children. But there is also a history of vandalism to changing rooms and fences.

Local councillor Barbara Dring, who chairs the city’s licensing committee, has now called on her Labour colleagues to think again.

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Clr Keith Linnecor, Nigel Quinn (Oscott Residents Association), and Clr Barbara Dring survey vandalism at Burford Road fields in 2005

Cllr Dring (Lab, Oscott) said that the area already has below average amount of green open space. “For this reason Burford Road is so valuable to us. It is widely used by the community of all ages.

“The anti-social behaviour is given as part of the reason, but this is incorrect as this has been brought down to a minimum - it should not be an excuse for development.”

She said they had been looking at having the fields protected with Village Green status and this should be allowed to happen.

Her colleague Cllr Keith Linnecor (Lab, Oscott) said that while there is demand for housing in Birmingham the plans are ‘saddening’ and added: “Burford Road should not be built on if possible.”

“Although no final decision has been made I understand part of the field will be sold off while the other section will become, for the first time, public open space.

“Constant reports of anti-social behaviour on the field and the abuse off the field by some who are not paying the costs of rent for sporting activities have not helped.”

He said there should be full consultation with residents and sports teams who use the fields before any decision is taken.

The proposals are due to go before the council’s cabinet at its meeting on April 18.

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