With the imminent opening of the Horsdean traveller site and the spending of £2.4m to create the perfect environment, Patcham Ward Councillors are very concerned at the condition of the sports field and the adjoining green space at Horsdean Recreation Ground.
To facilitate the construction of the traveller site, wide, deep excavations were dug to lay drains and water supplies through Horsdean Recreation Ground and the neighbouring green space in Vale Avenue in which trees had been planted. It was promised to residents and the local councillors that the reinstatement work would take a month to complete after which “nobody would know the work had ever happened”.
Seven months later, the restoration of the sports field and adjoining green space are still unfinished and Councillors have now been told that there is no money left in the project budget to reinstate the damaged areas to the high quality provided on the traveller site and that it will be a year or more before the disturbed areas will recover.
Cllr Lee Wares said “after months of discussions, debates and procrastination, we now know that there is no money left in the project to properly deal with the areas. It was promised that reinstatement would be such that everything would be left as it was found. This is no longer the case and it will be a further year or more before the areas even begin to return to the condition in which they were before”.
Cllr Wares added “we are told that reseeding the sports field is the best solution and that turf wouldn’t work, this is despite the traveller site having lush lawns laid ready for immediate use. We are told that pink large aggregate used for sub bases on roads is suitable for the dug up paths, in comparison with the properly laid out tarmac paths that have been laid across the traveller site”.
Cllr Geoffrey Theobald said “it beggar’s belief that millions of pounds have been spent with no provision for proper reinstatement in the areas outside the travellers site. The new traveller site is perfect, manicured and groomed ready for occupation. As against this, Horsdean Recreation Ground is used by thousands of residents and hundreds of children and adults playing sports and has effectively been turned into waste land. It has taken years of hard work by Cityparks and volunteers to create safe and suitable playing fields at Horsdean Recreation Ground but we are now back to square one”.
Cllr Carol Theobald commented “it’s a real kick in the teeth for the residents who not only paid for the development through their taxes but invested their goodwill in accommodating the works for the benefit of the development. This is not the result that they or we expected. I hope that this situation will be reconsidered and what local residents were promised will be delivered”.