A FIVE-year campaign to give Smith’s Wood children somewhere safe to play has been successful.
Thanks to the efforts of residents, the playing fields behind Bosworth Wood School are now open to the community at weekends and during the school holidays.
Lil Hayes, who has lived in the area for more than 40 years, started the campaign. Along with fellow resident Chris Iddles, the pensioner lobbied the local authority to open the land to the public.
Councillor Mike Sheridan (Green, Smith’s Wood) said: “Lil Hayes started the campaign back in 2004 and after five years of petitions, meetings and lobbying it has finally come to fruition, with the children now having somewhere safe to play.
“This demonstrates how local people, if they are persistent, can help shape the north of the borough and influence regeneration.”
He also praised the community groups who got behind the effort, include Smith’s Wood Boys football club and Safe and Sound Area 13.
Lil said: “I was worried that there was almost nowhere for the youngsters to play - it was dangerous for them to be out near the road. The fields had been shut off for years and I thought it was time that we did something about it.
“I’m not someone who gives up easily and I was determined to keep at it.”
The news will be welcomed by those Smith’s Wood residents who had railed against the loss of parts of Lanchester Park. The controversial proposals were approved at a planning meeting earlier this year and will see a large part of the park given over to a new housing development.