Nov 18 2011 By David Baker
Kingsfield Estate Residents Action Group
A WOMAN who has fought for more than 20 years to stop housing being built on a church playing field has described losing the battle as "one of the saddest days" of her life'.
Marion Garner-Patel, chairwoman of the Kingsfield Estate Residents Action Group, made the comment after Harrow Council granted an application 15 flats and 12 houses on St George's Playing Fields in Pinner View, on Wednesday.
She said: "It is terribly sad for everyone involved and for the whole of Headstone. One of the saddest days of my life. We will continue to petition against the plans, which we think could dramatically reduce some of our residents' house prices, and do whatever more we can.
"Harrow has already been subjected to a number of housing developments and we just wanted to save the field. We are so disappointed."
The site has been at the centre of a on-going battle between the church and residents since 1989, with a host of planning applications from the St George's Parochial Church Council rejected, planning appeals refused and even a public enquiry held this year.
But after the long drawn out and controversial fight the council has finally agreed to grant the latest plans, subject to minor legal issues.
The plans will see the development of seven one bedroom flats and eight two bedroom flats as well as 12 houses, four of which will have three bedrooms and eight with four bedrooms.
As part of the plans however 0.69 hectares of open space will have to be handed over to the council as part of a Section 106 agreement and the Reverend Stephen Keeble, Vicar of St George's and Chairman of St George's Parochial Church Council said this will be a great benefit to the community.
He said: "The development will benefit the local community, providing new public open space and affordable housing. It will also enable the PCC to repair, improve and maintain its large listed church and hall buildings, used for a wide range of religious, educational, cultural and recreational activities.
"We are very pleased that the Council has finally been brought to a sensible and fair decision. This is a vindication of the judgement and resolve of St George's Parochial Church Council which, as Trustee of a registered charity, is obliged to obtain best price for its assets if no longer required for Church use.
"The process has been unnecessarily prolonged and has soaked up too much charitable and public money."