Threat to the last vil­lage in Lon­don

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

HOME is where the heart is some may say, how­ever many of Hare­field’s res­i­dents who have lived there for gen­er­a­tions feel help­less to the overde­vel­op­ment of the ‘last vil­lage in Lon­don’.

Hilling­don Lo­cal Au­thor­ity is propos­ing to build a youth cen­tre in the Ash Grove open space and play­ing field, with­out con­sult­ing the ma­jor­ity of the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

The ap­pli­ca­tion has now been sub­mit­ted to the plan­ning depart­ment and the res­i­dents are in agree­ment that this youth cen­tre is not wanted right be­hind res­i­den­tial homes and would be bet­ter suited in an ap­pro­pri­ate part of Hare­field.

De­spite the fact that this youth cen­tre will tower over neigh­bour­ing houses, block­ing nat­u­ral light and de­stroy­ing the nat­u­ral habi­tat for bats and birds, it just sim­ply does not fit in such a small space of the com­mu­nity.

Res­i­dents are con­cerned that the youth cen­tre could po­ten­tially end fam­ily and com­mu­nity use, as the play­ing fields are home to reg­u­lar dog walk­ers and chil­dren.

The sheer speed of the plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion has left res­i­dents with a cloud of un­cer­tainty hang­ing over their heads and many are fear­ful for the out­come.

Ac­ces­si­bil­ity is just one of the wor­ries felt by res­i­dents.

There are con­cerns per­tain­ing to health and safety is­sues, ac­cess for emer­gency ser­vices and bound­ary struc­tures.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the pro­posed plans do not fac­tor that a youth cen­tre in the middle of res­i­dents’ dwellings will be un­able to cope with that kind of con­ges­tion.

Ex­tra ve­hi­cles on the road im­pose a threat on the safety and se­cu­rity for the chil­dren and older peo­ple in the lo­cal area.

Fur­ther­more, the con­ges­tion in the vil­lage may af­fect the emer­gency ser­vice ac­cess to Hare­field Hos­pi­tal.

Come on Hilling­don Coun­cil, as the last vil­lage in Lon­don – should the main pri­or­ity not be to pro­tect our green spa­ces?

The vil­lage of Hare­field has nu­mer­ous ex­ist­ing sports and com­mu­nity cen­tres and where is the new promised play­ground to re­place the old ex­ist­ing one?

Al­though in­ten­tions may be good at heart and res­i­dents do sup­port youth de­vel­op­ment, com­mon sense must over­ride.

This pro­posed youth cen­tre si­t­u­ated in Ash Grove Open Space will be a hin­drance rather than an aid to this tight knit com­mu­nity.

Fore­most the wishes of the res­i­dents should be re­spected.

Whether you are im­me­di­ately af­fected by the pro­posed plans or em­pathise the res­i­dent’s plight, it is be­ing en­cour­aged to reg­is­ter a for­mal com­plaint on Hilling­don’s com­plaint sec­tion on the web­site.

Time is much of the essence. NAME SUP­PLIED

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