Concerns over the stability of a contaminated playing field in Flintshire has led to the restriction of events and sporting activities, it’s been revealed.
Issues with subsidence have recently been discovered at the Willows playing field in Hope, which is located on a former council landfill site.
The green space is popular in the local community and is normally home to the annual Hope, Caergwrle and Abermorddu Carnival.
However, organisers have had to find an alternative venue for next year’s event after Flintshire Council imposed a ban on large public gatherings because of safety worries.
Councillor Gladys Healey said members of Hope Dragons Youth Football Club had also been forced to play elsewhere, despite the land being designated as a Centenary Field to protect it for community use last year.
The Labour politician has now demanded answers on when the problem will be fixed.
Speaking at a meeting held yesterday, she said: “The field was used for the carnival for many years, but it has been refused and the carnival is going somewhere else because of the contamination.
“The field became a Centenary Field but no play equipment can be put there any more.
“The plaque for the Centenary Field could not even be put on a pole in the ground and is up on a fence because of contamination.
“I just want to ask what is going to happen to put those fields right so at least the public can use it.
“They also came and mowed all the wildflowers with a big tractor as they said they couldn’t maintain them because they couldn’t dig into the land.”
Cllr Healey told members of the authority’s environment scrutiny committee it was not the first time issues had been experienced at the field.
Plans for a children’s playground were delayed in 2011 because of sinking land and part of the site was cordoned off.
Council officers said the Willows was one of several locations across Flintshire earmarked for remediation.
But they added they could not give a timescale because of ongoing work in other areas.
Contaminated land officer Rachael Davies said: “There is a problem with the field because of the stability of the landfill under the land.
“That is a big issue and that’s why I have been in correspondence with councillors and the community council about the use of the playing field already.
“We have had to restrict the use of the playing field from anything that will actually cause any weight on it.
“Unfortunately, the carnival has had to be told it can’t use the playing field because it isn’t safe to do so.
“It is down on our list to be dealt with, but when it will be dealt with unfortunately does depend on some remediation work at some other priority sites that we’re doing.”
She said she was not aware why the football club had been told it could not use the field.
Plans were previously outlined for a pharmacy to be built on part of the field, which led to a protest being staged by residents.
During the meeting, officers provided reassurance it could no longer be developed because of its designation under the Fields in Trust initiative.
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).