CAMPAIGNERS looking to safeguard the future of Croft Playing Fields feel let-down that the council didn't address their concerns during a meeting called to debate the issue.

Last month, the council's cabinet approved the lease transfer of their leisure facilities to Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), who run the Oasis Leisure Centre. Twigmarket will take over Broome Manor and Highworth golf clubs.

The proposals, which still need to be approved by full council, aim to save the body £1.4m a year.
While a public consultation was ongoing regarding the transfer, residents held a petition, which received 1,650 signatures calling for Croft Playing Fields, the car park and Marlborough Lane to be taken out of the transfer.

On Thursday, the council, who'd subsequently removed Marlborough Lane from the transfer, held an extraordinary meeting to debate the residents' concerns. Minutes before it started an amendment calling for the Croft matters to be discussed at full council was added to the agenda.
Councillors voted in favour of the amendment.

Linda Kasmaty, who signed the petition and was in the public gallery at the Civic Offices meeting, said: "It was extremely disappointing. We were supposed to be having a debate on the matter but that didn't really happen.”

The petition was launched to ensure the Croft area remained an open public space free from development.

"I think we did listen as one of the things that came out of the consultation early on was Marlborough Lane and we have taken that out," said Councillor Keith Williams (Con, Shaw), leisure services cabinet member.

"Removing the car park and the playing fields would jeopardise the business model."