Loughborough Echo

Families shocked as popular green space blocked off


- By NICHOLAS DAWSON News Reporter

RESIDENTS of Nanpantan were shocked to discover that a green space often used by families and walkers has been blocked off.

The field to the west of Leconfield Road has been a popular recreation­al space for locals for more than 50 years and it also provides a route through to the woods on the other side.

But now the gated entrance has been sealed off with additional fencing and “Private keep out” signs have been put up.

Steve Cuff, chairman of Nanpantan Ward Residents’ Group, said: “This action has effectivel­y reduced by almost half the open space we have available in the ward.

“We now need to show strength of feeling in the local plan consultati­on and ask everyone in the area to write to the council to insist they protect the land as local green space.”

A consultati­on on the proposed Charnwood Local Plan, which sets out the borough council’s strategy for housing and business developmen­t in the area over the coming years, is currently under way.

Last year, more than 250 residents attended a protest against plans for developmen­t on the field, as plans are in the pipeline for 25 homes on the open space. David Mulvaney, from the residents’ group, said the access being blocked and the new signs have made people concerned building works could soon start on the land.

There is currently no planning permission in place for a developmen­t.

He said: “It has motivated people to try and protect the land, now they have seen that the access has been blocked.

“Now we are going to redouble our efforts.”

Charnwood borough councillor Margaret Smidowicz, who represents Nanpantan, attended the protest in 2020, when she said: “This is the last open space in Nanpantan as the rest belongs to the university or has been allocated to the science and enterprise park.

“It was not considered suitable 10 years ago and should not be considered now.

“This year, we have all been made acutely aware of the importance of open space for the wellbeing of residents.

“There are many studies, including the recent Public Health England report on ‘Improving access to green space’, that link open space and wellbeing.

Surely, we need to be listening to our residents at this time.”

The owner of the land, the Helen Jean Cope Charity, has been approached for comment.

 ??  ?? STRENGTH OF FEELING: Children were left unable to play in a field to the west of Nanpantan, after finding the the area was blocked off
STRENGTH OF FEELING: Children were left unable to play in a field to the west of Nanpantan, after finding the the area was blocked off

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