VIDEO: Call to save green space for kids

Residents in Lancaster are campaigning to save a “beautiful and treasured” green space from becoming a new housing development.

Named Ridge Hill Green by residents, the land off Crag Road on the Ridge has been used for recreational activities for many years, giving children a taste of nature in what is otherwise a densely built up area.

Photo Ian Robinson'Chrissy Bailey and campaigners trying to save Ridge Hill Field in Lancaster from development

Photo Ian Robinson'Chrissy Bailey and campaigners trying to save Ridge Hill Field in Lancaster from development

But the Lancaster City Council owned land - which sits adjacent to Newton Beck, a Biological Heritage site - now has the potential to be allocated for housing, with consultations starting this week.

Chrissy Bailey, who has lived in Crag Road for 25 years said: “We worry that more housing is going to be built and there will be nowhere natural left for the kids to go. We like the little ones to be on the field where we can see them.

“They’ve played down there for years and it is used for kite flying, football, and children learning to ride bikes.

“We’ve got such beautiful land up here, but it’s in danger if we don’t do anything, and people will just lose touch with the countryside.

Photo Ian Robinson'Ridge Hill Field in Lancaster

Photo Ian Robinson'Ridge Hill Field in Lancaster

“Having something like this allows people to appreciate and respect nature, especially the children.

“We just want a decent quality of life, and having a bit of natural space is a big part of that. We’re saying hands off this piece of land.”

The community on the Ridge has worked hard over recent years to create a garden to grow vegetables and herbs, a community orchard, and a play area for children on the site.

The site also enjoys visits from deer, bats, swallows and buzzards.

Ward Coun Tim Hamilton-Cox said: “The site has potential to be allocated for housing.

“What we’re finding is that if residents don’t protest early, proposals can become actuality.

“We’ve sent letters around to people, and alerted people to the proposals to allocate it. This land has not been allocated for housing in the past.

“We as Greens are opposed to it because it should be retained for residents. There’s not a lot of green space left around here, and it’s adjacent to Newton Beck which is a Biological Heritage site. It’s treasured by residents here on the Ridge.”

Residents will hold a community event at Ridge Hill Green on Saturday and Sunday between 9am and 5pm. There will be tours and a BBQ as well as children’s activities. A petition will also be available for people to sign.

Everyone is welcome.

Coun Karen Leytham, Lancaster City Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for housing, said: “The Lancaster district is in tremendous need of high quality, affordable social housing, and the council is developing a programme of new build council housing to help address this.

“The project is still very much in its infancy and no formal decisions have been taken with regards to the sites most suitable for building on, with land off Crag Road being just one of a number of sites being explored. Before any formal decisions can be taken a lot more detailed work needs to be done to establish the feasibility of each site.”