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'Give us a new park and pool' say Stone residents

By Staf Newsletter  |  Posted: December 20, 2012

KEEP AN OPEN MIND ... Stone residents including Louise Cockburn, right

Comments (27)

A NEW GROUP has entered the battle for Westbridge Park – supporting the development of a new leisure centre.

While many residents have voiced fierce opposition to redevelopment in the park – described by some as Stone’s green lung – others are calling for residents to keep an open mind to the potential of new facilities for a growing town.

A Facebook group has been set up, called A New Leisure Centre for Westbridge Park, and has already been backed by more than 100 people.

Visitors to the page are being asked to say what leisure facilities they would like in the park. Currently the most popular choices are a children’s play area like the one at Stafford’s Victoria Park and a swimming pool heated using green energy.

Louise Cockburn, one of the supporters who arranged a meeting at the park on Saturday, said: “We are really looking forward to seeing what the planners design for us and I hope they look on the Facebook page to see what local people want out of the new facilities.

“I really don't understand why some folk are so negative about any redevelopment to Westbridge Park. Having new developments would bring more of the community together.

“Think of our children’s future and what they want, and what their children would like. There is so much potential for Westbridge. More and more houses are being built in Stone with many more to come- this means more families with children, more people who are into fitness and more need of shopping.

“I am a mum to four boys, three of which love going to Stafford and Longton parks and I know of many other parents who are forced to travel out of their own town to entertain their children at a decent park. Stone is surely populated enough with youngsters to justify the need for a bigger, better park and populated enough for a new redeveloped leisure centre with a pool.

“We have to accept change - change for the future, change for the best. I myself would have liked nothing more than for Stone to be how it was 30 years ago, but with all the expansion of housing and growth of population we all need to accept changes to our surroundings.”

More than 4,700 people signed a petition opposing Stafford Borough Council’s proposal for mixed use development at the park contained in its local plan.

There are concerns that a new leisure centre, to replace the “obsolete” facilities currently at the park, would come at the cost of allowing a supermarket to be built there too.

Councillor Rob Kenney, who started the Keep Westbridge Green campaign, has previously said Stone Business Park would be a more suitable location for a new leisure centre.

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  • Staf Newsletter  |  January 09 2013, 2:15PM

    Who is the youth of stone?

  • Staf Newsletter  |  January 09 2013, 2:15PM

    Who is the youth of stone?

  • Staf Newsletter  |  January 07 2013, 2:52PM

    Thankyou all for your comments!! :)

  • Staf Newsletter  |  January 05 2013, 8:12PM

    Ian, please do not pursue the argument that the WYG report is flawed because it will fall on death ears. WYG are well known for undertaking retail assessments and these have been tested and examined at planning appeals and found to be sound. WYG do not need to interview, they merely to achieve a representative sample. Information on shopping habits can be easily obtained, through club card subscriptions etc, as such retail consultants can establish with a high level of accuracy NEED. Furthermore, it should be noted that WYG did not make any growth assumptions in their report. Consequently, it did not take into account the proposed 800 homes in Stone. If it had, this would actually increase the need.

  • Staf Newsletter  |  January 05 2013, 1:27PM

    The youth of stone, Jack? You infer that these new facilities won't cost the tax payer anything? Whilst I agree that progress is needed, but this will just be a other way for the council to profit from tax payers by selling off our land, building us new facilities with the profit, then over charging us to use them. This is why people don't trust the county council! Why is it they promote new business but have such expensive car parks, which causes people to stay at home and shop online? Why is it Staffordshire's road network are so poorly designed causing long delays at peak times? Why would anyone go to a town to sit in traffic, be charged to park, when they could sit comfortable at home on their computers? What's needed is more smaller local specialist businesses, more social businesses, cheap if not free parking, considering you get tax from pretty much everything we do nowadays, and decent road networks?

  • Staf Newsletter  |  January 05 2013, 12:50AM

    'The Youth Of Stone'i know for a fact what you have just said is the same as on a facebook site and you are calling yourself the youth when you are over the age of 18! Hiding behind a screen as per usual!

  • Staf Newsletter  |  January 04 2013, 8:07PM

    At the end of the day, it will probably happen, like it or not. We need new facilities, the old ones are 12 years out of date. Split site (expensive dual running costs of old facilites) is no longer viable. Lots of people want new facilites, Cllr's Hood and Kenny are not the "voice of Stone" - they are living in the past. Hardly anyone uses the current park, ever. There were 2 people taking their dogs for a poo on the muddy grass the other Saturday at 1.30pm, that was it. It has been the same week after week. The existing gym car park was full and even the instructors there say that it needs replacing. People have to pay to go into the Food Festival which uses about 1/3 of the available park space. I have yet to see any money from the c£50,000 in their bank account being put towards new play facilites etc. A new supermarket is required - if you shop in Morrissons at peak times you know why - plus there are 800 homes coming to Stone. Think of the Jobs it would all create! Think of the money tradesmen could earn builiding and maintaining it all! You can't stand in the way of progress - what we have now is a disgrace. The Govt. is making it easier to develop and the Portas Report concluded that things like new Superm Markets and Leisure facilites SHOULD be built on the high Street becasue they attract people. There is broken glass, graffitti and signs of drug abuse all over the place on the current run-down site. Get over it, the grass will not all be used up but what is built in its place will get used a thousand times more. The "Keep Westbridge park green" team led people down a path that was not straight! They did nto know the facts and people were asked to sign the petition. Most people thought the petition was to stop houses being built all over the park. That is not the plan. There is NOT ENOUGH MONEY in the pot to build the new facilites without selling some of the land, the Supermarket CANNOT be built elsewehere. If a supermarket is built 200m away on Tilling drive the only difference it will make is that there will be no funding. If it is built on private land then someone will get rich and our kids will ask why we tried to stop them updating the facilities. We live in a town where people drown in the Canal. We need swimming classes. We also need more leisure facilites as we are massively left behind by nearby towns. There are lots of open grass areas - how about the Downs banks or the Common land in Stone - that is huge! How many people use that? Hardly any. Most dont even know it exists. We already have Supermarkets (small and over shopped - FACT) near the high Street, all new Leisure facilites will do is to give Stone high Street a lease of life, and increase house values and improve peoples quality of life. Leave it as-is and wthe money will be spent elsewhere and the high Street will die within 2 years. Think that about covers it, other than to say "Thanks Stafford Borough Planning Team for being pro active and positive and figuring out how to pay for all this without charging the tax payer - GOOD ON YOU!"

  • Staf Newsletter  |  January 04 2013, 3:25PM

    Richard - look for the WYG Report appendices on the SBC website and the 'household survey' in particular. Mark,the survey is indeed flawed as it takes the shopping habits of less than 100 Stone residents applying them to a much larger and wider spread population. I am not sure if you realise that the organisation carrying out the survey were yesterday in Morrisons repeating the exercise. For what reason I wonder?

  • Staf Newsletter  |  January 04 2013, 2:18PM

    Ian, the WYG report need consider the impact of the Aldi report and it stated that this would take 24% of the intended capacity. As such, I don't agree that the retail report is flawed, notwithstanding this, as part of any forthcoming planning application the applicant will be required to submit an upto date retail impact assessment to demonstrate that there is a qualitative and quantitative for a new supermarket.

  • Staf Newsletter  |  January 04 2013, 11:14AM

    Cheers Ian. Perhaps you could give me the dates of the flawed survey so i can be sure im looking in the right place. I think i may be looking at something else