Campaigner warns community of ‘dancing with devil’ over plans for Mansfield Bowling Club
11:00 24 February 2014
Campaigners are urging residents to fight two separate projects to build homes on a bowling green.
Developers have unveiled new proposals for a community garden, tennis courts, a sports pavilion and housing on land belonging to 100-year-old Mansfield Bowling Club, Croftdown Road, Dartmouth Park.
Days after a public consultation at Highgate Newtown Community Centre, Bertram Road, Camden Council told Dartmouth Park Conservation Area Advisory Committee (DPCAAC) that the club will appeal against the refusal of planning consent for an indoor leisure centre and eight homes.
Patrick Lefevre, DPCAAC chairman, is warning residents that accepting the latest two proposals for luxury homes and community space could pave the way for approval of the old scheme.
“They are no improvement at all and it is extremely dangerous for the community to dance with the devil,” he said. “It’s really dangerous if the community doesn’t see this as a stark reality check because there is really a danger that the club will win the appeal.”
The committee wants the whole site to be kept for community use after it was left for the public by philanthropist Angela Burdett-Coutts about 140 years ago.
But the club says it had to close the bowling green in 2011 and redevelop due to financial pressures.
Developers Generator Group last week revealed two new options for the club land, which include open space.
One is for a large two-storey housing block, rising to three storeys at one end, where the existing clubhouse stands. The other would have two separate three-storey blocks facing each other.
Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, chairman of Kenlyn Lawn Tennis Club, which uses the club’s courts, said he was in favour of the proposals.
A Generator Group spokesman said: “We have been engaging with the local community to identify an approach that reflects local aspirations. In response to the feedback received at our public consultation workshop in October, our new proposals enhance the benefits to local children with exciting new opportunities for outdoor children’s activities.
“Mansfield Bowling Club exercised its right to appeal the original planning application in order to protect itself going forward.”