Proposals for Rec not just a walk in the park

An artist impression of the split park and car park plan
An artist impression of the split park and car park plan

Antipathy between ward councillors and a neighbourhood forum has been exposed over the future of a village recreation area.

Community group Standish Voice is asking residents to take part in a consultation about the Rec with one suggested option to turn it into a car park and children’s play area.

However, the plans have been criticised by independent representative pair Couns Debbie and George Fairhurst who say the playing fields should be left alone.

The consultation will offer three options; transforming the Rec into a park only, leave it in its current state or the 80/20 split of park and car park.

Standish Voice has said it favours the split option but will go along with the will of the community.

The Fairhursts, however, have hit out at this proposal and have said they are “standing up for residents.”

In a statement, Coun Debbie Fairhurst, leader of the Standish Independents Party, said: “ Given the comments made to me it is crystal clear that they do not want this area to be turned into a car park. I know both me and George will battle to keep it from being concreted over and we will always represent the people of Standish.”

They say the land is part of a covenant, gifted to the community.

Her father-in-law, Coun George Fairhurst, added: “This land should be used for the children of Standish ... it is still widely used for informal use.”

Standish Voice said a recent consultation showed residents wanted a public park in the village and it ran a petition calling for more parking.

They said the Rec had not been used by organised sports clubs for several years. And the winning option would form part of the group’s Neighbourhood Plan that would be subject to a further referendum before being submitted to the town hall.

A group statement said: “The Rec has been a valuable asset to the community for many decades ... we believe if we don’t use it, we may lose it, so we think a new village park and small car park would be a fantastic addition to the village centre.”

The consultation runs until March 27 and the public can have their say via www.standishvoice.co.uk