'Noisy' playground can remain despite illegal building workBy Jennie Slevin
January 25, 2013
A play area branded a ‘blight’ on neighbours’ lives will be able to keep an illegally built sandpit and play equipment after it was given the go-ahead.
Frustrated neighbours played a recording of children playing at the Locks Ride park in a bid to persuade Bracknell Forest Council’s planning committee to refuse Winkfield Parish Council’s application on Thursday, January 17.
Speaking at the planning meeting Roger Price, of the Winkfield Row Residents’ Association, said: “The play park is a noise nuisance which is a blight on our everyday lives.
“The noise becomes intolerable.
“What evidence do we need to give you to understand the magnitude of this?”
The former BA pilot, who said he was representing 13 of the 16 households in Winkfield Row, accused the committee of approving the plans to please fellow Winkfield Parish Council councillors.
He said: “The officers have recommended this for approval because it’s their project.
“You may chose to nod this through out of loyalty to your colleagues and friends that sit in this room.
“Your decision-making must be translucent so only approve this if you’re ready to stand up in front of a court of law.”
Committee member Councillor Andy Blatchford said: “With great sympathy, the noise levels can be loud but the traffic noise from the main road overwhelms everything.
“I can see no reason not to allow this planning application.”
Cllr Chris Turrell added: “Locks Ride has been a playing field for a considerable amount of time.
“Living near a playing field, it’s reasonable to hear the sounds of play.
“What we see here is a perfectly reasonable use of a playing field and I believe if you were to measure noise with a decibel count then you would hear more noise from the traffic than the field.”
The planning committee refused to accept Mr Price’s claims they were ignoring his complaints, and unanimously voted to approve the plans.
The parish council, which built the playground in Forest Road as part of the Government’s Playbuilder scheme, successfully applied for a certificate of lawfulness, to keep play equipment last month after it emerged it did not have the correct legal documents.
The park also faced a legal battle after Mr Price’s wife, Dr Catherine Bentley-Thomas, filed a criminal prosecution for nuisance noise against the parish council, which was dismissed by a judge last May.