Civil Service Ground Update

You may be aware that Southampton City Council now owns the former Civil Sports Ground. I would like to take this opportunity of updating you with what has happened and what we intend to do in the near future and in the coming years.
The site has been bought in order to provide more school sports pitches but we are also very keen to look at future opportunities for the land including community use.  To this end, Councillors and Council officers have met with a number of interested parties and this has resulted in the formation of a Working Group.  This group consists of representatives of the Council, St. Mark’s School, Friends of the Field, local residents and some sports organisations and has met throughout the recent months to discuss future opportunities.
Currently we are relocating slow worms which inhabit the site and which are a protected species, meaning that no work on the land can start until they have been removed.  Japanese Knotweed is also growing on the site and has to be treated throughout the year to eradicate it.
We are now looking for contractors to install secure fencing to the field together with some repairs to fencing on the Malmesbury Road side.  It is anticipated that this fencing will be installed in the autumn after the slow worms have been removed and the Japanese Knotweed treated. An estimated timescale is attached to this letter.
Whilst we appreciate that the field has historically been used by the local community, it is currently in such a poor state that it represents a significant health and safety hazard.  A number of local residents are also concerned that the field continues to be accessed illegally and used for anti-social activities by some people. Therefore, we will take steps to ensure that the field will no longer be accessible in the immediate future.  Once the fencing has been installed the land will be secured and only available for school use and some other, occasional, pre-agreed activities by designated users.
In the spring of 2014 the remainder of the field will be dug up, levelled and re-seeded.  Again access will not be possible during this time but once the grass has been established, the field will be re-opened to the local community.  Whilst all of this work takes place the council will continue to engage with local residents to investigate the most appropriate use of the land in the future.

Any additional work would be phased and subject to obtaining external funding. We see this as a developmental programme with exciting possibilities for the local community.  Working together we hope to achieve a high quality local amenity which will encompass the community’s aspirations and provide an attractive outdoor space for the future use of all.
Start date
Finish date
Ground preparation for fencing installation
16 Sept 2013
17 September 2013
Installation of fencing
Oct /November 2013
End December 2013
Site clearance
Early 2014
Spring 2014
April/May 2014
September 2014

This post was written by
Jeremy fought the Test seat at the 2010 and 2015 General Elections. Jeremy grew up locally and went to school in Highfield and Shirley and attended Richard Taunton’s college. He served as a Southampton City Councillor between 2002 and 2018. Jeremy works as a Pensions Manager for FTSE 100 company, Friends Life.

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