Council takes control of Kingsmead playing fields
by Alex Claridge
Canterbury City Council has formally agreed to seize control of
the Kingsmead playing fields and sell it to a housing
Despite massive opposition in the St Stephen’s and Northtgate
wards, members of the ruling Conservative executive argue that
building on the field is a cornerstone of rejuvenating the whole
The five-acre site opposite the Kingsmead Leisure Centre is
considered surplus to requirements for recreation and is believed
to be worth more than £5 million.
The council has already decided to sell the land and says the
field forms part of a 35-acre redevelopment area in Kingsmead,
which includes the old Serco depot and the former coach park.
Cllr Peter Lee, the executive member for finance, said: “I don’t
think it’s any secret that we are looking at this particular piece
“In totality this is a 35-acre site and there are alternative
open spaces in the area.
“We have been accused of using this to raise some money, but
that is a luxury we do not have. We are going to raise some money
to improve the area and the facilities in the long-term
Chief executive Colin Carmichael added: “This field was
originally designated for a new school, but when that didn’t happen
the alternative we should consider was residential development.
“The executive has already decided to sell the land and to
appropriate the site is a logical follow-up.”
A group of dog walkers and their pets held a mini-protest
outside the council chamber in the Guildhall before Thursday
Alan Thomas, of Market Way, Canterbury, was among the residents
who turned up to oppose the decision to appropriate the land.
He said: “The administration has completely mishandled matters
related to the field and has completely misjudged the opposition to
“It has ignored the wishes of residents, it has lost the trust
and confidence of the electorate and has failed to demonstrate the
degree of honesty and integrity that residents have a right to
The council says it will now formally complete the paperwork
relating to the field and record the appropriation.
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