WEST MIDLANDS OBESITY CRISIS -LET’S KEEP OUR SPORTS GROUNDS & NOT BUILD HOUSES ON THEM SO THAT THEY CAN BE USED FOR EXERCISE & RECREATION BEFORE ITS TOO LATE

Get kids out from behind their tablets and phones and get em running about chasing a football…..is it no wonder that Birmingham and The Black Country and especially West Brom and Wolverhampton are facing a childhood obesity crisis…..?

I walked a mile to school and back when I was a kid for 13 years from the age of 5 until I left Sixth Form at George Dixon School in July 1976 at the age of 18….the most exercise some school kids get is walking from their front door to the car for the school run as they are always on their Tablets or Mobile Phones even at the ridiculously young age of 8 – 10 years old…..that is one of the reasons I am dead against Thimblemill Recreation Ground being redeveloped for residential uses……

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We are losing our playing fields and Sports Grounds to greedy residential developers who see an opportunity for a ‘fast buck’ in building on green space sports grounds rather than reclaiming ‘Brownfield’ contaminated land and building decent affordable homes on those sites…….I hope that Thimblemill Recreation Ground, the former GKN Sports and Leisure complex is NEVER redeveloped for residential uses as the owners of The REC are plain lazy and looking to make a quick profit by selling off their ‘crown jewels’ their sports fields and green space, even if it IS covered by trees…..surely that means that the site is a ‘Site of Special Environmental Interest’ which should NOT be built on…….?

As a Rugby Union player of some 30 years standing, who met his wife at the local rugby club Dixonians RFC in Bearwood’s Fountain Road, Edgbaston and whose life has been dominated by sport, especially Rugby, Cricket and Football….it irks me that the only way that the former Avery’s Sports Ground in Sandon Road, Bearwood can be redeveloped by its owners residential developer Persimmon Homes, is by losing the nearby former Mitchell’s & Butler’s Football Ground, towards the bottom of City Road, Edgbaston, to residential development with over 200 houses being built on the former M&B football ground…..losing valuable community recreational Green Space and a sports ground to boot, when we can ill afford to lose ANY exercise Green space as we grapple with the childhood obesity crisis in Brum and The Black Country……..

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Persimmon Homes have struck a deal with the local authority covering both the City Road former M&B sports ground and the former Avery’s Sports Complex in Sandon Road, Bearwood, Edgbaston whereby they are given carte blanche to build hundreds of houses on the City Road Recreation Ground and Football Fields in return for providing a new Rugby Union sports facility at the former Avery’s Sports Field in Sandon Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, very near to Bearwood

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Albeit that this sports ground is in Edgbaston, Birmingham on the Brum side of the county boundary, between Birmingham and The Black Country, Brum and Smerrick…….The Sports Field site CAN be brought BACK into use after lying derelict and unused for over 40 years and I have been in Bearwood for nearly 60 years being brought up on the Poplars Estate in Willow Avenue, off Sandon Road, a 10 minute walk from the neglected, abandoned and derelict former Avery’s Sports Ground where there was a Lawn Tennis Club, Cricket Club and Pavilion and many football pitches.

The Avery’s Sports Field site is now a haven for anti-social behaviour with fly-tipping on the site’s entrance on Sandon Road, opposite the former Methodist Church in Barnsley Road, which is in a Conservation Area in Edgbaston in Birmingham as home to a number of ‘Arts and Crafts’ houses and dwellings.

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Not far away also in Birmingham with BIrmingham City Council as the local Planning Authority at the Ravenhurst Sports Ground in Knightlow Road, Harborne, the former St Phillip’s RC Grammar School playing fields, Redrow Homes, like Persimmon Homes in Sandon Road and City Road nearby have put in a residential planning application to build over 100 houses on the unused and derelict former Rugby, Football, Lawn Tennis and Cricket Ground at Ravenhurst, Knightlow Road which has a Pavilion and Changing rooms which could easily be brought back into use for a needy football or cricket club, or even a Rugby Club like mine: Dixonians RFC who now play away from their traditional Bearwood, Smethwick, Warley, Oldbury, Harborne, Quinton and Edgbaston areas from where Dixonians recruit most of their players.

I played at Ravenhurst Sports Ground for my rugby club Dixonians RFC in the early to mid-1990’s so it is not THAT long since that sports ground has been used for sport and recreation….Local residents in Knightlow Road and other nearby residential areas in Harborne do NOT want Redrow Homes to build homes on the Playing Field at Ravenhurst and the local community have come together and put pressure on Birmingham City Council to refuse the Redrow Homes Residential Planning Application which BCC have done….so hopefully the local community have saved a green space and a sports ground from being concreted over and have houses built on it by greedy developers……?

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We cannot get these Green Spaces back….once they are built on they are lost FOREVER….Save Our Sports Grounds…..and our Green Spaces……Local Councillors Richard Marshall, Bob Piper, Ann Jaron and Steve Eling in Birmingham People Power CAN win and has done so in getting the Residential Planning Application by Redrow Homes to redevelop the Ravenhurst Recreation Ground……that is what I hope happens at Thimblemill Recreation Ground and that the Local Community come together and using Social Media and other means like online petitions and rallies and demonstrations and meetings put pressure on the Local Planning Authority Sandwell Council to think again and NOT allow houses to be built on The REC and retain our Green Lung for recreation and exercise near to Thimblemill Pool and Brook if we are to avoid an even more serious health and obesity crisis amongst our youngsters…..

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SAVE OUR SPORTS AND GREEN AND OPEN SPACES…..Just imagine if Residential Developers put in a Planning Application to build houses on Warley Woods, our fantastic recreational amenity……!!!! We would all be up in arms then wouldn’t we…..? We need the same attitude towards what is happening at Thimblemill Rec……We CAN change things with concerted action….we just need to come together as a Community and TRY…..and NOT give up without a fight……that’s what these developers want…..that we will lose interest and opposition will just fade away……not if I have anything to do with it……..!!!!

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2 thoughts on “WEST MIDLANDS OBESITY CRISIS -LET’S KEEP OUR SPORTS GROUNDS & NOT BUILD HOUSES ON THEM SO THAT THEY CAN BE USED FOR EXERCISE & RECREATION BEFORE ITS TOO LATE

  1. Pingback: WEST MIDLANDS OBESITY CRISIS -LET’S KEEP OUR SPORTS GROUNDS & NOT BUILD HOUSES ON THEM SO THAT THEY CAN BE USED FOR EXERCISE & RECREATION BEFORE ITS TOO LATE | keithbracey

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