Stoke & Staffordshire

Save Westbridge Park petition 'misleading'

An online petition to save a Staffordshire park is "misleading", say borough councillors.

More than 600 people have backed the petition to protect Stone's Westbridge Park from shops and homes.

Campaigners says the park at "the heart" of the community faces development under the Local Plan.

But Stafford Borough Council said the park had not been earmarked for housing, and residents would have a say in any future development.

Frances Beatty, who is in charge of planning and regeneration at the Conservative-run council, said: "There's absolutely no discussion about it being for homes so where that's come from I have absolutely no idea.

'Natural beauty'

"And that's why I say there's a lot of misleading propaganda being put out.

"Even if part of Westbridge Park was to go, it would only be a small part and the rest of it would be compensated."

The e-petition was started by Stone town councillor Rob Kenney after "mixed-use development" was mentioned for the park in the Local Plan.

The plan, a blueprint for the development of the borough over the next 20 years, is currently under consultation.

The petition, which has been posted on the borough council's website, said the green was used by people of all ages and many sporting clubs and was also "an area of natural beauty".

However, Stafford Borough Council said the Local Plan aimed to improve leisure facilities and there would be no development without the consultation of Stone residents.

In response, Mr Kenney said: "It is not misleading because it says 'keep Westbridge Park green' and retail - food and non-food outlets are planned."

He said the Local Plan includes the provision of new retail outlets in Stone, but as there was "no room" in the town centre, the park was under threat.

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