PACKERS FIELD, JOHNSTONS LANE WHITEHALL
UPDATE MARCH 2006
WHY DOES IT MATTER WHAT HAPPENS TO PACKERS FIELD?
Packers Field is an open green space that
has been used by local people for informal leisure use over
many years. It is a rare resource in an area where even the
smallest of spaces is being built on.
There are 3 key facts about this field:
- Packers can be accessed directly from
the cycle track as well from Whitehall's residential streets;
this means that it is also used by people from Greenback
and Easton without anybody having to get in a car.
- The field is flat and open. This means
it is used by children, women and older people who comment
on feeling safe on Packers. How fantastic is that in the
- The size of the field means that it
is used both by sports clubs and informally. There is room
for both - this does not have to be an either or situation.
WHAT IS HAPPENING TO PACKERS FIELD?
The City Academy (formerly St George's
Community College) has leased Packers from Bristol City Council
on a 99 year lease for a pound a year. The City Academy has
planning permission to develop the field and is due to start
working on the following very soon:
MORE TRAFFIC MORE NOISE MORE POLLUTION:
Building a new entrance off Whitehall Road traffic lights·
Putting up a high security fence all around with locked gates.
ALONGSIDE THE 3 ANCIENT TREES (Johnston's
Lane side) THEY WILL:
Build a car park for 80 cars and coaches· Build changing
THE ACADEMY ALSO PLANS:
A synthetic running track · Floodlights (Earlier plans
for an athletics stadium are not currently being pursued)
WHAT ABOUT LOCAL PEOPLE?
You may have heard about a 'Community
Use Agreement'. Because of the strength of local feeling about
Packers, the planning department have made it a requirement
that the Academy develops a 'Community Use Agreement'. Sport
England (the national body responsible for helping the government
meet its sporting objectives) have also said that Packers
should not be kept just for the school, but should be made
open to the wider community for ever. BUT does this really
mean anything for local people?
WHAT IS A COMMUNITY USE AGREEMENT?
There is no clear answer to this because
although Bristol City Council had said that there should be
one, they do not have experience of how it should be developed
or what it should contain. More importantly they do not have
a role in monitoring whether the Academy keeps to an agreement.
The Academy is having a meeting on 14
March (6.30 pm at Russell Town Avenue) where they will present
their proposed community use agreement.
WHAT COMMUNITY USE IS THE ACADEMY TALKING ABOUT?
- The Academy doesn't acknowledge that
people use the field informally and have done so for many
years. It is only interested in what Packers can do for
the Academy. (note: the school is not controlled by the
Local Education Authority and has key businesses as partners
including Bristol City Football Club, Bristol Chamber of
Commerce and University of the West of England).
- The only reason that the Academy is
producing an agreement is because it has been forced to.
The local community have not been asked what they want to
use Packers for and yet the Academy has now drafted an 'agreement'
to be discussed at a public meeting that the Academy has
not invited us to. We don't see how this can be called consultation
- We have spoken to people in the
local area and 92% of local residents believe that there
should be genuine consultation, free open access and dual
use (schools and the community).
WHAT COULD BE THE FUTURE OF PACKERS?
The City Academy may have tried to scare
people by saying that without them 'there will be serious
implications for the field' (letter to residents 2005). Do
not be put off - the field is designated recreational ground
and cannot have houses built on it. All over the UK green
spaces are being used by local people and maintained through
successful partnerships between the community and Local Authorities.
If we could rent the field as the Academy has for just a pound
a year than would be a good start!
WHO CAN WE CONTACT TO FIND OUT MORE AND TO GIVE OUR VIEWS?
The City Academy
Ray Priest (Principal)
BCC Planning Department
Ian White (Central Area Planning Team)
John Kiely / Abdul Malik
This information has been put together
by local people, who want the community to be fairly consulted
about the future of Packers Field. You can see more about
the history of Packers and our concerns about its future on
the website www.packersfield. You can contact us by emailing: