DOG walkers and footballers are at loggerheads over a move to block access to fields behind a housing development.

Residents in the Bromley Road area of Colchester have been left miffed after railings blocking access to the nearby Gas Recreation site were installed “about three weeks ago”.

A development comprising of 12 houses was built at the site after blueprints were approved in 2016.

Since then, the remainder of the site where houses weren’t built has been home to Gas Recreation Football Club, with residents using the remaining space to exercise and socialise.

'Good piece of land'

Upset dog walker Christine Atkins has been enjoying the space since she moved to the area 40 years ago but is no longer able to walk her two pooches there.

“It’s a really good piece of land for the community,” she said. “There are no swings or anything around here for little children so it’s great for them too.

“People from the secondary school meet there too and don’t cause any trouble at all.”

She added: “If there was a proper entrance and exit we could use, as long as everyone is happy to keep the land clean and tidy and free of rubbish, I’m sure the majority would accept that.”


Greenstead councillor Julie Young said she understands the residents' disappointment and confirmed the issue has been flagged with planning bosses.

Gazette: Disappointment - Greenstead councillor Julie YoungDisappointment - Greenstead councillor Julie Young

What does Colchester Council say?

Colchester Council has reviewed the planning permission for the housing development and has confirmed the pitches behind the housing development were transferred to the authority.

A spokesman said: “These pitches are leased to the Gas Recreation Football Club for their use.

“Our review did not find evidence of public access rights to these specific pitches in the planning application or agreements.

“While unrestricted public access wouldn’t be compatible with the Gas Recreation Football Club’s activities, the agreement ensures the land remains a local sporting facility.

“We acknowledge this might be disappointing to some residents. However, securing the land for sporting use safeguards it from potential future development outside the community’s interests.”

A previous bid to build 50 homes at the site, which would have included a new training pitch and other facilities for the football club, was thrown out by the council and a planning inspector in 2014.