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New signs tell sledgers to toboggan off Thompson’s Field, Sutton
7:00am Friday 25th January 2013 in Keighley
Residents are furious after ‘private land’ signs were erected around a popular sledging field in Sutton.
Villagers say the land, known locally as Thompson’s Field, off Holme Lane, has long been used for sledging. But several ‘prohibited access’ signs were put up on Friday, depriving local children from using the amenity.
Manure was also spread on the field on Saturday morning, which further angered residents.
The field is the subject of a planning application for the development of 53 houses, which was rejected by Craven District Council’s planning committee. The developer appealed and the Planning Inspectorate has yet to rule on the matter.
“It’s a nasty trick to keep children out of the field,” claimed Sutton resident, Janice Garlick. “I think these signs have gone up so the planning inspector won’t see it as a recreational field, which could jeopardise the application.”
Mrs Garlick said the field had been used for sledging by villagers for nearly 70 years.
Sutton councillor Ken Hart said: “I’ve lived here since 1962 and since even before then it’s always been a sledging field and nobody’s ever objected.
“I think the signs are a message to the inspector this is a private field, but it won’t have an impact on the appeal. This just rubs people’s backs up.”
But one local farmer, who did not want to be named, said the manure may not have been spread to stop sledgers.
“The ground has been so soft, but last week the snow and frost hardened up the fields making it easier to spread manure,” he said. “If you go out with a tractor before the ground freezes, you’ll leave a hell of a mark.
“Putting muck on a green field will eventually encourage the grass to grow and improve the soil structure.”
David Thompson, the field’s co-owner, declined to comment.