Council will 'progress with plans' to fence off Werrington Fields but keep them open to the public

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Peterborough council has said it will request planning consent for a change of use of the land which will allow both residents and a local school access

Peterborough City Council (PCC) will “progress with plans” to fence off Werrington Fields, it has said, but will apply for planning consent first to “help allay residents’ concerns”.

While the authority says it doesn’t need official permission to erect a fence of two metres or less on the land, it added that it will submit a planning application for a variation to the fields’ use because residents “feel” that they are a community asset.

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This application will propose a Community Use Agreement, PCC says, which will allow the fields to be used both by residents and the school that conducts outdoor sports there.

Werrington FieldsWerrington Fields
Werrington Fields

The Ken Stimpson Academy has used the fields since the 1980s, but began to raise safeguarding concerns over the public having shared access to them in the late 2010s.

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Peterborough City Council plans to fence off entirety of Werrington Fields

PCC tried to reach a compromise on use of the land by applying to the Secretary of State for consent to fence off part of the fields while leaving the rest to residents, but this was refused on the grounds that it would take the school below the minimum area of soft landscaping required per head of pupil.

Before that, it had already fenced part of the fields off, but admitted after challenge from campaign groups that it had been wrong to do so without going through a formal statutory process.

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Since its unsuccessful appeal to the Secretary of State, PCC says it has “worked with the Four Cs MAT, the Academy Trust to review options” and will now move forward with fencing off the entirety of the fields.

PCC says that the exact location of the fences has not yet been determined and that, as such, the cost of the endeavour has not yet been calculated.

Council leader Cllr Mohammed Farooq (Peterborough First, Hargate and Hampstead) described the row over Werrington Fields as a “very difficult” and “long-running” situation and said that the council will “try to resolve it while keeping all parties happy, however we can”.

A council spokesperson also said that, while the issue of the fields is very important to people in Werrington, the Ken Stimpson Academy is the only school they’re aware of in Cambridgeshire that doesn’t have its playing fields fenced off from the public.

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