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Parents launch fight for Utkinton playground facilities

Plans to install play equipment on school field thwarted over lease issues

Elliot Gregory with sisters Lily and Emily Atkin-Jones

A dispute is raging over children’s play facilities in Utkinton – but parents are refusing to give up the fight.

The parish council wanted to install play equipment on Utkinton Primary School’s field so kids in the village have access to recreation facilities out of hours.

But a number of residents raised concerns about the potential impact on their privacy and the security of their homes during a consultation, and the Diocese of Chester – which owns the land – has denied permission for its use as the lease is limited to pupils.

A diocese spokesman told The Chronicle: “The Diocese of Chester has for many years provided the school with these playing fields and continues to do so.

“The existing lease with Cheshire West and Chester restricts use of the fields to use by the school under proper supervision and prohibits the erection of any new building or structure on the property.”

Sam Gregory, however, is one of a group of parents who are refusing to take no for an answer.

Campaign

Sam feels so strongly about the issue that she has set up a petition to urge the diocese to reconsider, which has been signed by more than 120 people so far.

She explained: “When I found out that the diocese had refused the children of Utkinton and Cotebrook a play area I was very upset.

“I decided that all the villagers need to be aware of the problem and see if we could rally together.

“Our children’s health and well-being is vitally important. A recent Government report showed Cheshire West has a higher level of childhood obesity than its statistical neighbours – madness!

“Many families are going out of the village for recreation and it is a crying shame.”

If you would like to sign the petition, click here.

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