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'To Maintain, Improve and Extend the Play and Recreational facilities within the Parish of Doxey for its Present and Future Population'

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Press Releases

Press Release

Mon March 7th 2011

Doxey Fights for Play Space

Concerned residents and community figures are joining forces to secure a fair deal for people of all ages in the Doxey area of Stafford to enjoy play and recreation.

Children in particular stand to lose out if new housing proposals lead to loss of a well-used football pitch in the foreseeable future.

The Doxey Parish Plan 2007-2012 has already shown a demand for further recreational facilities in Stafford's only urban parish, which has a population of over 2,000 – including 170 children of primary school age.

Now a new group,  Play Space 4 Doxey,  has carried out research showing that the parish has fewer recreational facilities than other parts of Stafford town.

Spokesman Iain Simpson says “We are very concerned that Doxey is losing valuable recreational facilities at the same time as future housing developments are proposed in our community.

“We are seeking a urgent meeting with the leader of Stafford Borough Council, Councillor Mike Heenan,  to find out how the council intends to reconcile these two conflicting problems.”

Saint-Gobain Abrasives based in Doxey Road has told Doxey Parish Council it intends to sell land it owns between the main road and the disused Stafford-Newport railway line, including the football pitch. The Parish Council has negotiated a temporary extension to its lease on the football pitch but the long-term future of the facilities is still in doubt.

Press Release

Mon March 28th 2011

High powered talks to thrash out play space plan for Doxey

Community campaigners and council chiefs are meeting this week to thrash out a solution to a shortage of play space in a Stafford suburb.

Doxey parish stands to lose its well-used football pitch if a housing development goes ahead without land for a new facility being found.

Borough council leader Mike Heenan and Doxey community leaders are being brought together by Tillington councillors Peter Goodland and Isabella Davies to find a way ahead on Friday, 1st April.

Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy, borough council chief executive Ian Thompson, recreation officials and parish council vice-chairman David Adams will also attend.

Representatives of Play Space 4 Doxey, a community group formed to campaign for better recreational facilities in the parish of 2,700 residents have also been invited to join the talks.

Councillor Peter Goodland says: " Doxey folk are very alarmed at the prospect of losing one of the few recreational facilities their community has. The football pitch is leased by the parish council from Saint-Gobain which wants to sell the land.

The importance of this matter is recognised by the fact that so many influential figures are getting together to talk about it and trying to find a solution."  

Councillor Isabella Davies says: "Doxey needs more play space for its youngsters who cannot afford to lose anything they aleady have. If more houses are built, we will need more play space, not less."

Play Space 4 Doxey is backed by community groups including the police and Doxey Primary School, which has 170 pupils. Head teacher Jon Dreher says: "The children of my school are crying out for recreational areas. Not only must we protect what limited facilities we have, we must ensure that future developments take account of the recreational needs of the children."

Councillor Mike Heenan says: "This meeting will be an opportunity for everyone involved to air their views and find a way forward for the people of Doxey."

Press Release
April 5th, 2011


Doxey community campaigners and borough council chiefs have found a way forward to ensure their football pitch remains open to local children.

A top-level meeting between council leaders, officials, local councillors and Doxey community representatives exceeded all expectations on Friday, April 1st. Hopes are high that the football pitch can be safeguarded and further recreation improvements achieved.

Saint-Gobain Abrasives told Doxey Parish Council in November 2010 it wanted to sell its land south of the main road in Doxey, including the football pitch, to Bellway Homes. It was therefore terminating the parish council’s lease on the pitch.

Representatives of Play Space 4 Doxey and local borough councillors Peter Goodland and Isabella Davies and Doxey parish vice-chairman David Adams learned on Friday that planning officers of Stafford Borough Council had recently had informal discussions with Bellway Homes with a view to the firm drawing up a planning application for this land.

Head of planning and regeneration Ted Manders said the borough council started from a presumption that the existing football pitch would remain in use, should Bellway win planning permission for a housing development on other parts of the site.

In the meantime the whole site, including the football pitch, remains the property of Saint-Gobain Abrasives, which has fenced off  the land.

Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy offered to write to Saint-Gobain Abrasives asking the firm to keep the football pitch open to the people of Doxey while the planning issues were resolved. The representatives of Play Space 4 Doxey were pleased to accept Mr Lefroy’s offer.

A parish meeting of Doxey residents in December resolved to fight for the retention of the football pitch or its replacement by a new facility within the parish

Planning History of Saint-Gobain Land South of Doxey

This land formed most of 29 acres (11.7 hectares) was put forward for inclusion in the Stafford Borough Local Plan 2001, published in 1991, but later dropped.

In January 1997, the inspector who held the public inquiry into the local plan, identified a shortfall of provision for over 1,000 houses as being needed in order to meet the requirements of the county structure plan. He recommended that this site should be considered again by the council to make up the shortfall.

In October 1998, the borough council included this land in the approved local plan as housing proposal HP9.

Town plan 2001

In June 1997, Unicorn International submitted planning application 97/34923/OUT for 180 homes on this site. The houses were to be built close to the main road through Doxey, the land further away being retained as a wildlife habitat and football pitch, all designated as public open space.

In September 1999, the development control committee resolved to grant planning permission, subject to a Section 106 agreement. In the event this agreement was never signed.

Meanwhile, Unicorn’s land was acquired by Saint-Gobain and the Government revised its planning policy guidance note on housing (PPG3). This guidance, requiring local authorities to give preference to previously developed land over greenfield sites, has now been rescinded.

In May 2003, the development control committee resolved to refuse permission for planning application 34923 on the grounds that enough brownfield land was available to meet the requirements of the structure plan for the construction of new houses.

Saint-Gobain appealed to the Secretary of State but withdrew that appeal in June 2004.

In the meantime, George Wimpey submitted planning application 02/42042/FUL for detailed planning permission on the same land. This was refused in April 2006, largely for the same reasons as Saint-Gobain’s previous application.

Doxey Parish Council came into being in April 2003 and negotiated a lease on the football pitch in 2005.

In November 2010, Saint-Gobain indicated it wished to terminate that lease in order to sell the land to Bellway Homes. In February 2011, fencing was erected around the land with notices stating “public access prohibited”. A public right of way behind the Church of St Thomas and St Andrew remains open.

The meeting at Stafford Borough Council’s Civic Offices on Friday, April 1st, 2011, was called by Tillington borough councillors Peter Goodland and Isabella Davies, whose ward includes the parish of Doxey.

Present were:-

Councillor Mike Heenan, leader, Stafford Borough Council
Ian Thompson, chief executive, Stafford Borough Council
Councillor Mike Smith, Cabinet Member for leisure
Ted Manders, head of planning and regeneration
Adam Hill, head of leisure and culture
Jim Arnold, sports development officer

Jeremy Lefroy MP
James Cantrill, Mr Lefroy’s assistant

Councillor Peter Goodland, member for Tillington
Councillor Isabella Davies, member for Tillington

David Adams, vice chairman Doxey Parish Council

Neil Thomas, Play Space 4 Doxey
Iain Simpson, Play Space 4 Doxey

Helen Clarke, police community support officer and youth leader

Contacts :

Iain Simpson :  Stafford 607 771
email             :   ps4d at   [replace ' at ' with '@']

Neil Thomas : 07837 015 096