Persimmon discusses Lime Avenue football pitches situation with town council

Saffron Walden has hundreds of youth players wanting to play football while two pitches sit empty.

Saffron Walden has hundreds of youth players wanting to play football while two pitches sit empty. - Credit: Saffron Walden Community FC

The saga involving two empty football pitches which cannot yet be used by the community has taken a step forward.

Saffron Walden Town Council’s meeting on Monday heard that the clerk and leader Councillor Paul Gadd attended a virtual meeting with Martyn Clark of Persimmon Homes.

It was agreed the town council will give a quotation for the costs to finish the outstanding work including providing temporary buildings for the Lime Avenue site, as a financial resolution to the problem.

The clerk said they had been given an unreserved apology.

Cllr Gadd said they would now wait to see if the situation would conclude.

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“On the plus side, the stuff we have had in the press has clearly had an impact,” he said.

“It’s the first time anyone from Persimmon has talked to us.”

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Cllr Barbara Light said: “I’m pleased some progress is being made, though slow and contentious.”

The housebuilder had been urged to honour its commitments.

Saffron Walden Town Council, working in partnership with Uttlesford District Council and the community football club, has asked Persimmon’s chairman, group chief executive, all directors and non-executive directors to get involved and resolve the situation.

Monday’s meeting heard the temporary buildings for changing facilities were defined as lasting five years.

Persimmon was granted planning permission in 2012 to build homes in Lime Avenue, off Little Walden Road, by Uttlesford District Council.

The agreement was that the developer would build and hand over two full sized football pitches, along with temporary changing facilities including toilets and showers. This should have been done in 2014.

The development was completed, the pitches were built and seeded but the changing facilities and interlinked utilities were not created.

Saffron Walden Community Football Club provides football training within the town for over 700 children and has said there is a desperate shortage of available football space, forcing some games to be cancelled.In a statement, Persimmon Homes Essex said: “We are continuing to work with the local authority and town council to bring the matter to its conclusion.”

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