D-Day for coveted village playing field

Herald Series: David Walton David Walton

A VILLAGE will tonight learn if its playing field is to be replaced by 51 homes.

The Anson Trust, which provides sports facilities in Marcham, is running out of money and is keen to strike a deal with a developer over land at Anson Field.

Vale of White Horse District Council is due to make a decision on plans by developer Taylor Wimpey to build the housing on the field off Morland Road.

Along with cash for the land the trust will get a new community centre, a floodlit games area and sports pitches on land behind Hyde Copse off Howard Cornish Road.

The plan, which will see the demolition of Marcham Sports, Scouts and Social Club and Little Angels Nursery, has been mooted for six years and has split the village.

Anson Trust member Mike Hoath said: “We are running out of money. At the moment our running expenses are greater than our income so we have to do something.”

He added: “We think it is very important as it will give it a really good set of facilities that will last an awful long time.

“It’s a real win for the developer and it’s a win for the village as they will get the facilities.”

The Anson Trust was set up in 1913 to provide village facilities in memory of well-known villager Arthur Anson.

Planning officers have recommended Vale councillors approve the application.

Lindsay Mudie, of Marcham Football Club, said: “We have been there for 60 years. We didn’t ask to move but if we move the facilities will be way above and beyond what we have at the moment.

“We are quite happy to stay where we are or move to the new place.”

David Walton, chairman of Marcham Parish Council, said the issue had divided the village.

He said a village survey in May showed 53 per cent were against the proposal and 47 per cent in favour.

He said: “As a council we find ourselves seeing both sides of the argument.

“We see the advantages to the village in a very much-improved community facility.

“In a short timescale, it’s probably the only way of getting such a facility.

“On the other hand we do value the green space that will be lost in the centre of the village.”

But he added: “The village is not keen on 50 new houses in the village wherever they are built.”

Taylor Wimpey spokesman Gemma Hitchcock said: “These facilities will provide Marcham with a much-needed modern social area and associated sports facilities.

“To deliver this, our residential development will provide 51 new homes which will be suitable for a range of purchasers from first time buyers, through to large families.”

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