Green campaigner fights back with book slamming council
A campaigner who tried to save a neighbourhood green from development has written a book about his experience battling Stevenage Borough Council.
Tony Glanfield spent months fighting a decision by the authority to sell off the former Longmeadow Green and an adjacent block of residents’ garages near his Oakfields Close home to a developer for flats.
He argued the council, which installed temporary accommodation for homeless families on the green over 20 years ago, had always promised to return it to communal use, while the loss of residents’ garages would put increased pressure on already inadequate parking in the area.
His book Actions of a Few are Felt by All is his account of what he sees as the many flaws in the plan to build four blocks of flats “looking remarkably like a prison or a warehouse”, and his experience trying to convince the council to scrap it.
He said: “There were a multitude of serious issues. Firstly the loss of an essential play area, designated years ago, without consultation before the development was agreed, and ignoring a policy background that no residential housing would ever be considered on the open space.
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“The demolishing of 47 garages left no possibility to garage vehicles safely off the road and nowhere to park our cars. And placing a septic tank with awful smells yards from residents’ rear gardens in the 21st century is most certainly unacceptable.
He added: “The new buildings are extremely close, overlooking residents and blocking early morning sun entering their gardens. Many mature trees were damaged, then removed for safety reasons. Extraordinarily, four months after the development was completed 42 mature trees adjacent to the site were removed. It is absolutely wanton vandalism.”
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He added that 14 families have since moved from the area, “predominantly because of the new development”.
He said the book, which was independently funded and published by a Stevenage company, was driven by anger and in the hope it may help others: “I hope the book will assist those facing the same scenario of councils robbing small children of essential play areas.”