Row over state of children’s play area

A FOUNDER of the group set up to help safeguard a Newby field has criticised Scarborough’s MP over his comments about the state of the land.

Hazel Bassett, who is one of the founders of the Save Moor Lane Field group, is asking MP Robert Goodwill to apologise for comments he made, in which he stated he would be unwilling to let his own children play on the field “given the amount of dog muck” on the popular playing field.

Mrs Bassett, who helped form the group after Scarborough Council voted to sell off the playing field to build affordable housing, said: “This comment has angered the people of Newby as it makes us sound like irresponsible people who allow our dogs to use the field as a toilet and then send our children to play in it.

“The vast majority of people clean up after their dogs, there is no major problem of this type here, therefore we have no concerns about our children playing on this field.”

Scarborough councillor Andrew Backhouse believes the MP’s comments are “misguided”. Cllr Backhouse said: “With all due respect to Robert, he has got this wrong – 99.9 per cent of the people who use this field are respectable people, so to pick up on this small point is ridiculous. This thing happens all over the borough, not just on Moor Lane.”

Mr Goodwill has clarified to the Evening News that his comments related to a visit to the field made last year and has promised he will “have another look at the field” next time he’s in the area.

However, he has said he supports the group in their attempts to save the land from development.

Mr Goodwill recently spoke out against the sale of green fields in order to build affordable housing and has suggested that planners should look elsewhere rather than build on playing fields.

He said: “Of course I support the group and their right to bring their plight to the public’s attention. Whenever there is a medium to large scale sale of public land, groups like this are vital in trying to make planners reassess their decision to use green space for housing.”

A decision on the next stage of the future of Moor Lane Field is due at a council meeting in September.