LAST week it was announced that Calne Town Council have submitted a planning application to Wiltshire Council to relocate the rugby pitch to Potter's Field at Calne’s Recreation Ground as part of ambitious plans for a phased redevelopment of the site, soon after the announcement, residents posted an online petition against the application.
The plans include a professional renovation of the playing surface, installation of permanent perimeter fencing, equipment storage container and demountable high ball-stop mesh fencing, used only during rugby games to mitigate the risk to neighbouring properties.
A new overflow car parking site will be located to the side of The Recreation Ground, at Hillcroft, which will be used during match days and marshalled by stewards on the site.
The plans have infuriated many residents of the neighbouring properties who fear their quality of home life will be affected by the move and consequently an online petition against the applicaton was posted.
The petition has already been signed by over 100 people who are furious with the plans and claim that the land was gifted to the people of Calne by the Harris family, and should be used communally and not just for the rugby club.
Other concerns listed on the petition include: Less space for dog walkers, the pathway to and from Priestly School would become 'severely narrowed' by a 6ft high fence, shouting, extensive swearing and commotion, privacy issues with floodlights being erected and potential parking issues.
However, this planning application is only the first phase of plans which, if approved, would eventually see a complete transformation of the area; this includes an overhaul of the play area, a retail kiosk (to be managed by Town Council), sport changing facilities and disabled toilets.
Jeanette Young, Director Of Council Services said: "While the initial plans submitted to Wiltshire Council focus on providing a safe space for Calne’s rugby clubs, the proposal enables us to deliver on our mission to return the Recreation Ground back to its Pleasure Ground status.
"The move to Potters Field is being funded by S106 monies, at no cost to Calne taxpayers, which will ensure that the area remains accessible to the community.
"Further plans on the future development of the wider site depend on the success of this application, which is to include substantial improvements to the play area and green spaces to benefit local residents and the wider community."
Photograph by Paul Webb