Fight to protect Lancaster field goes on

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

Residents have ramped up their battle to save a field from being used for new housing.

Campaigners packed into a council meeting to make their feelings known about the future of Ridge Hill Green – land off Crag Road on the Ridge which has been used for recreation for many years.

The land has been earmarked as a possible site for development as Lancaster City Council tries to solve a housing crisis.

Coun Tim Hamilton-Cox spoke on behalf of residents at the meeting.

He asked for the land to be withdrawn from housing plans and designated as “urban green space” because it is next to the biological heritage site of Newton Beck, “one of the most important non-statutory wildlife sites in Lancashire”.

“It is clear that the authorisation to develop such a site for housing should be a last resort,” said Coun Hamilton-Cox. “The flora, especially in spring, is a particular delight.”

But councillors voted to delay a decision until after a full public consultation into their overall housing blueprint for the district.

“We need more information,” said Coun Roger Dennison.

“I could come forward with this sort of thing in my ward.”

Coun Karen Leytham said: “We can’t shut the door on this. We are very limited on council land where we can build houses.”

After the meeting, residents spoke to the Guardian and said they would fight on.

Joe Tamassy said: “I’m very upset. There’s plenty of land where houses can be built.

“Do these councillors want happy or unhappy residents?

“I live right opposite and it’s where I walk my dog. It’s a piece of beautiful land. These councillors need to get themselves up to see the land and make a decision.”

Cheryl Mayor said: “We have kids who play on that field. What are they going to do if there’s nowhere to play?”

The piece of land is on the north west edge of the Ridge estate and looked over by Honister Road and Crag Road.

It is named in the council’s Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment, known as the SHLAA. The protesters want it taken out of the SHLAA to safeguard it for future generations or have it turned into a village green.