Monday, September 13, 2010

Demonstration against development on Aylestone Meadows

The Leicester Mercury reports that a demonstration is to be held on Thursday (16 September) at 4.15 p.m. outside Leicester Town Hall against plans to build a football complex on Aylestone Meadows.

The paper quotes Sue Eppel (Hello Sue!) from the Aylestone Meadows Appreciation Society as saying:
The work they have planned, especially the floodlights, is going to have a devastating effect on the wildlife."
Certainly it is an odd way for Leicester, which proclaims itself an "environment city" to behave. There must be many less environmentally sensitive sites where this complex could be built.

The defence mounted by the Labour councillor Robert Wann is worth a little attention. He says:
"I think they are very selfish in their approach. The football facilities are part of an £11m city-wide improvement to sporting facilities which will benefit hundreds of local people."
How campaigning to protect Leicester's environment can be "very selfish" escapes me. And if you do the arithmetic, an £11m project that helps "hundreds of people" represents extremely poor value for money.

Perhaps somewhere behind this is the attitude that Tessa Jowell revealed in her speech to the Labour government's sports summit in July 2003:
“Here’s the truth – children don’t want to play sport on badly drained 1950s scraps of land. They want showers, fences and floodlights.”
For people like Jowell and Wann, a meadow will always be a poor substitute for Astroturf.


dreamingspire said...

A middle way needed, surely. Isn't it the pampered young adults who want the comforts? And the authorities who are so frightened that they create fortresses: fence and light and surveil. Kids seem to be quite happy with, not "badly drained 1950s scraps of land", but well managed open playing field areas, laid out with basic lining and goals. For the high tech sports, go to indoor sports centres.

Nick O said...

Some good points here - I seem to recall playing on building and demolition sites as a youngster, but I wouldn`t want my son to do the same!

I wish the campaigners every success and I`m glad they`re getting some publicity.

Anyone interested in this issue might also be interested in the similar-but-different Rushcliffe Greenfields campaign in Nottinghamshire. The links page to their site features three articles on the underlying issues by a supporter called Tony whose views are very interesting.

Nick O said...

I was interested in the Aylestone Meadows issue, so I did a bit of googling earlier today.

Anyone interested in this article might like to visit this sites for some amazing pictures taken there;