HILLFIELD LOCAL NATURE RESERVE – Cricket Pitch?

A planning application has been submitted by Solihull Blossomfield Cricket Club to establish a six wicket cricket pitch on existing parkland at Hillfield Local Nature Reserve. Documents submitted to the planning department include the following:

PL_2020_00255_COU-SUPPORT_DOCUMENT-1200113  

PL_2020_00255_COU-APPLICATION_FORM-1200576

PL_2020_00255_COU-LETTER-1200579

PL_2020_00255_COU-LOCATION_PLAN-1200110

There are a few aspects to this application: the establishing of new sporting facilities for community use versus loss of open space.

PL_2020_00255_COU-PHOTOS-1261100

Hillfield Local Nature Reserve sits within three wards, Shirley South, St Alphege and Blythe.

I would value readers views.


13 thoughts on “HILLFIELD LOCAL NATURE RESERVE – Cricket Pitch?

  1. Hi Ken,
    Solihull Municipal CC, adjacent to Blossomfied CC also offers a range of cricket opportunities don’t they. So, with this proposal we’d have three cricket pitches in very close proximity. Is the need/demand clearly there? Would casual users of the park be able to watch the cricket at this new pitch or will it all be screened and fenced off. My perception is this is a lightly used part of the current recreational space and therefore perhaps acceptable, but what is the benefit to SMBC? Is the ensuing benefit solely to Blossomfield CC?

  2. A cricket pitch with enclosures and changing facilities would take up a substantial area of the park, as well as having the need to remove an established line of trees.This area is a favoured area of the park for those who exercise their dogs as it is well away from playground and the lake and its waterfowl. Surely Blossomfield coould make arrangements with Municipal Club. Parking would also be a major concern as already vehicles are often to be seen parked on Widney Lane verges when matches are on, I definitely oppose this application.

  3. I cannot see where there is a community need for this versus the need to keep green space that is weekly used by the community. If this came from community I am surprised. My house backs onto park and I am not aware of any need arisinh etc. It would also be worth knowing if the Council will benefot financially from this.

    1. I can’t see any financial benefit to the council. This is purely an application from a sports club to seek more space – they will have to promote wider use in the community to even have this considered. Therefore benefits to the community will be another cricket pitch versus loss of open land to walk.

  4. I think a cricket pitch would be too large and take up too much space. Also there is a parking issue. So I oppose.
    It would be lovely to see the council put in a tennis court as it wouldn’t take up a lot of room. It could go next to the basket ball area.

  5. As far we are concerned the proposed land is well used.
    The safety aspect does not seem to be raised.
    It would appear to me that the main beneficiary would be Blossomfieldcricket section which is part of a members club
    I am given to understand that this is a nature reserve park so do we really want such a development to reduce this superb public place.

    I therefore would oppose this application.

  6. I don’t use the park nor do I play cricket so I’m not sure if that qualifies me as a neutral. Having read the Support Document and, in particular, page 7 and the Community Benefits where it states it will enable/encourage young children to participate in active sport, it sounds like there is some merit there. It also says that such users do NOT have to be members so other objections about it being a ‘private members’ club are perhaps a touch emotive. However, what is not particularly clear is the exact size/impact give the ‘plan’ looking more like a stone circle at the moment. Also, as per my first comment, as I’m not a park user I don’t know the relative impact (e.g. number of park users vs number of cricket users (…just in the summer?) vs how much park space still remains. Therefore, in summary, my view is that more detail is needed – some sort of cost/benefits analysis maybe? – because i can see the advantages to the club and I can see that they are giving something back in return but I’m not sure of the net impact to the non-cricket community.
    One final thought: Many years ago there used to be a cricket ground off Prospect Lane (Lucas owned?) that was sold and developed for housing. I think, as a general rule, sports/facilities should be encouraged over housing, but, as extra facilities rather than re-purposing other green spaces. I believe that the pitch and putt is going (or may be going?) and likewise that is a facility that should not be lost because, once gone, it’ll (never?) come back.

  7. Dear Cllr Hawkins
    I have just read all of the planning application, as I am about to submit an objection. SMBC cannot let this go ahead. There is very little parkland on that side of the Borough, so to lose 15,000 sq. meters of nature reserve, to an unnecessary third cricket pitch, would be a disaster for the park users and residents of Solihull. Please don’t let this happen. The Club intends to install drainage, level off the land and put up artificial lighting. What a disaster for the habitat. The park is used by young, old, dog walkers and children playing games; the cricket club has allowed itself to expand beyond its capacity, so why should the many park users be penalised for the few? The Government and medical people are continually telling us to go out into open spaces and nature reserves for the improvement of our mental health and well being, so how can the Council even consider this planning application? My Grandson lives in the Borough and travels to Earlswood to play cricket. I see Earlswood isn’t on the list of alternative grounds submitted by Blossomfield Club. Lots of children and adults travel further afield to join sports clubs, clubs can’t always expect to gain more pitches to cope with demand.
    In conclusion, this would be a disaster for the Borough and I, and everyone I have spoken to, is against it. Part of the joy of living in Solihull is it’s beautiful green spaces, please let us continue to enjoy them.

  8. The plan is being proposed as an asset to the community.Really? Having read the application and being familiar with site indicated for development it could be described as detrimental to the community in overall terms, the environment, and residents in the immediate area.
    Issues relating to fencing off an area which has proved increasingly popular this year and inadequate parking facilitates have already been referred to.
    Environmentally, if I read the rough site map for the cricket pitch correctly, it includes 2 coppices, a large and developing natural/ wildflower area and at least part of the woodland currently forming the boundary between Blossomfield Club and nature reserve. Surely SMBC cannot sanction their destruction and erection of fencing and changing rooms? This would be incongruous especially when so many natural and wildflower areas are being developed in the Borough, presumably and in my book acceptably so, funded by taxpayers.

  9. This is an application made by a private subscription paying club, which in their documents has 200 cricket playing members (the vast bulk being children), to share the use of part of Hillfield Park. What is missing?
    There is no indication the applicant has consulted either park users (who outnumber the club’s membership) or those householders who would be affected – looking at mapping a dozen houses.
    The club’s current pitch is surrounded on three sides by either a wooded area or a line of trees. Whereas the proposed pitch would be open on one side, along which runs the existing path in the park, and open land to the east. Will the club install ball catching netting plus supporting structures, for health and safety of others who use the park. No provision is made for this. Would netting be required on the northern side to prevent damage and injury to the houses and road users? Again not a word about care for others.
    Understandably the club will seek to restrict access if they are successful, if only to reduce or stop dog fouling (which can happen and poses a health risk) and so fencing will be needed.
    If cricket is a growing competitive sport and a sporting activity, particularly for the younger generation, how long before the club seeks additional parkland?
    Yes I am a regular user of Hillfield Park – a park which has seen use by at least 100% since the pandemic.
    The application should be rejected. The grounds for leasing public use parkland is NOT made out and when examined has significant gaps.

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