Packers Field Fun Day
Monday 28th March 2005
Packers Field in Whitehall is the only large green open space available for use by people living in Easton, Whitehall and Greenbank. It has been used freely by local people, for a variety of leisure purposes (including football) for many years.
Bristol City Council is currently attempting to develop the space as an Independent School Sports Facility. This will mean building on and fencing in the field, which will severely limit and possibly prevent free public access and use of it. The council’s proposal (which has been granted planning permission) includes an 85 space car park, 8 foot high fence and a new building. It is also very likely that Bristol Athletics Club will be relocated to the site, requiring floodlights and a spectator stand for at least 500 people.
Local residents are strongly opposed to the development. They not only stand to lose their only green space, but face an increase in traffic, noise and light pollution. Local children and sports clubs will be prevented from training and playing games, as access will be restricted to those who can pay or are especially talented (a lesson learned from the Academy at St George).
The campaign to stop the development has won a public enquiry in April. This will determine whether or not Packers Field can be registered as a Town Green. If the town green status is won, unrestricted use of the field by local people will continue, as will formal and informal sports such as football and cricket matches. The field will also be protected from any future development proposals or attempted restriction of public access. There is a strong desire to see the field maintained for the benefit of the local community, by the local community.
As part of the campaign to stop the council’s development and gain town green status, Easton Cowboys are organising a community fun day on Easter Monday, 28th March. As well as a 6-a-side football tournament there will be activities for children, such as beat-the-keeper and keepy-uppy. There may even be a chance to see Wayne Rooney in the stocks! We hope that the success of the day will demonstrate that there is a need and desire for free, safe, open spaces. Furthermore, to show that sport and leisure can be community-led, self-organised, cheap and fun.
So come along in your football kit, have fun, and save your local park!