Confusion after council votes to save historic Torquay playing fields

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CAMPAIGNERS have won their battle to preserve a historic Torquay playing fields.

Torbay councillors supported the petition by residents in the Watcombe area of Torquay and Liberal Democrats to preserve the King George V Playing Fields.

But afterwards the fate of nearby Easterfields was uncertain.

Residents were up in arms at proposals to use the fields for a golf club development.

A petition calling on the councillors to right an 80-year-old ‘mistake’ to save the fields at Watcombe from development was handed in at Thursday’s full council meeting.

Torbay Liberal Democrats say the fields were never registered in trust as a memorial to his majesty in 1936.

David Ward told the council the local community was passionate about the fields which were used by a cross section of society from dog walkers to kite flyers.

Some local people had used the fields all their lives. His appeal to councillors to preserve the green open space was applauded by the residents at the meeting.

Lib Dem leader Steve Darling said they were asking for a wrong to be put right and for the fields to be registered with the national Fields Trust.

They accepted a move by Conservative Robert Excell that the registration should be done within a year.

Members agreed that 12.5 acres at King George V should be registered.

But after the meeting Mr Ward said the campaign would continue to ensure that the nearby Easterfield were also protected as it was not clear from the meeting that they were included in the protection though they are also highly valued by the local community.

Torquay Golf Club wants to expand by taking over the majority of the neighbouring King George V park, which includes footballs pitches and BMX fields along Easterfield Lane.

But the plans for housing, a new club house and large car park and new golf driving ranges and training golf course for beginners — affecting the King George V playing fields — have angered local residents and amateur football bosses.