Friends of Mill Field
A sad day for Localism!
January 24th 2021
Following extensive consultations and surveys with local residents, The Deepings Neighbourhood Plan group had included Mill Field as a Local Green Space in their Neighbourhood Plan which was submitted for examination last November. The Inspector, Andrew Ashcroft, called a Public Hearing about Mill Field which was conducted online in December 2020 (It was great that some of you were able to join that Hearing).
It was very disappointing that SKDC spoke out at the Public Hearing against the allocation of Mill Field as a Local Green Space considering that they are aware of how much Mill Field means to local residents and also the aim of Neighbourhood Plans is to empower local people to be able to make decisions about the places where they live. A sad day for Localism in The Deepings!
The Inspector recently published his report and decided that Mill Field must be deleted from the Plan as a Local Green Space! His justification for that is because, unbelievably, he concluded that Mill Field is not demonstrably special to the local community!
It was also because he decided that it was too big to be a Local Green Space even though there are no specific size requirements set and there are other Neighbourhood Plans which have included Local Green Spaces as large as and/or larger than Mill Field.
SKDC and LCC also persuaded the Inspector that Mill Field could not get to the end of the Plan period without needing to be built on! We know that if Mill Field were to be developed that would not be the end of development in the Deepings... therefore there ARE other sites!
Such an unbelievable and disappointing conclusion for the Inspector to reach!
However we are not giving up our fight to keep Mill Field for the recreational use of the local community!
Planning application rejected by SKDC!
October 28th 2020
Great news!!! Today SKDC rejected LCC’s application to build 260 houses on Mill Field!
In the centre of the proposed housing estate, there would have been an area of green for general use and somehow LCC believed this would compensate local residents for destroying this whole precious area.
The application failed on the following points:
Sir John Hayes MP visits Mill Field
July 30th 2020
It was fantastic to see Sir John Hayes MP visit Mill Field at 9 am today and speak to a large number of residents who later took part in a photo shoot with Sir John. Also present were numerous Councillors from Market Deeping , Deeping St James, SKDC and Lincolnshire County County who came to show their support for keeping Mill Field as an open green space. Many thanks to CLLR Ashley Baxter who organised the photo shoot. It was great that so many residents came at such short notice and at a time when many were at work or away on holiday.
End of the road for our appeal
December 30th 2019
Sadly we are no longer able to continue our appeal against the decision to reject our application for Mill Field to be registered as a Village Green. This is because the next step would be a Judicial Review and the cost could run into tens of thousands of pounds or more, which we simply do not have. We are very grateful for all those who have contributed since September to enable us to get professional advice following the Inspector’s decision. It is sad because we failed the Village Green on one point only : that we had permission to use Mill Field when the Deepings Show was on. This is because the law says that you can only get Village Green status if you have used the land without permission. As there was a charge for the Deepings Agricultural Show it means we had permission. We still felt that we could appeal this because entry to the Show was porous ie not everyone paid. Some people walking their dogs just walked straight in without paying, and also such a huge number of residents were involved in the Show anyway and they weren’t charged.
We also believed that we had grounds to appeal because we felt that the final decision, taken by LCC who are also the landowners, contravened some important points and recommendations made by the Inspector on how the decision should be carried out.
Neighbourhood Plan... Local Green Space
October 17th 2019
In addition to our appeal for Village Green status, Mill Field is also included as a Local Green Space in the new Neighbourhood Plan which is now out for consultation. Please support this by answering the 10 questions on the feedback page and letting them know how important Mill Field is to us all. Thank you!
Go to Consultation on final documents, and click on "draft Neighbourhood Plan"
and then click on "submit your feedback" to answer 10 questions. Thanks!
Sir John Hayes meeting
October 11th 2019
It was wonderful to meet with Sir John Hayes today, in the Town Hall, as he has always supported our cause and was keen to be updated with our campaign and offer his assistance.
Planning and Regulations Committee
September 2nd 2019
Many thanks to all those who travelled to Lincoln today to witness the Planning and Regulations Committee decide our Application.
It was a never- to- be- forgotten experience! (Fortunately we recorded the whole session). It was evident that they knew nothing about the site because one member commented on the wrong piece of land and no one corrected him. (I tried but was told not to speak).
One member spoke passionately on our behalf and proposed that they should accept our Application but unfortunately other considerations took precedent and we lost 4 : 6 with 3 abstentions.
We will appeal!
After 6 months, the Inspector has finally published his report and made his decision. We are very disappointed that he decided to recommend that our Application should be rejected.
The Statutory tests that he passed us on are:
The Statutory test that he failed us on is:
He says that this is because the Deepings Agricultural Show was on the land for 2 days, 16 times, during our 20 year period and they had permission to use the land. He rejected our argument that entry was porous and that dog walkers/ walkers continued to use the land even while the Show was on.
January 8th, 9th & 10th 2019
It was great to see so many people turn up to support us and it was very encouraging that more chairs had to be brought in, several times, at the start of the Inquiry, and that some readjustments had to be made to fit everyone in! Between 10am and 5pm each day, a huge number of residents came to support us and stayed as long as they were able. There were always different supporters in the room throughout the day... we valued your support, thank you! There was also a fantastic cross section of the community there too, from young babies to two ladies in their nineties. The children who spoke at the evening session were brilliant and the Inspector seemed very impressed with their enthusiasm for their environment. A big thank you especially to all our witnesses who took the stand and endured the cross examination, which was not always pleasant.
December 16th 2018
The public Inquiry to determine whether Mill Field should be registered as a Town/Village Green will take place
On: Tuesday January 8th and Wednesday January 9th 2019
In: The Welland Room
There will also be an evening session
On: Wednesday January 9th
In: Open Door Baptist Church
Please support us by your presence, even if you can only stay a short while.
Evidence Files Friday December 7th 2018
December 11th 2018
Six lever arch files of evidence were taken to Lincoln on Friday in preparation for the Public Inquiry.
Many thanks to Jonathan, Alan, Caron and Gordon for their help in preparing these files!
Also thank you to those who offered to give evidence. The Inspector limited the number of oral witnesses to 15 and also indicated that written statements didn't carry much weight so we had to be selective and tried to avoid repetition. Apologies for any disappointment.
Online survey to demonstrate significant use of Mill Field for recreational activities.
October 23rd 2018
Please follow the link below to complete a simple 6 question online survey (mostly requiring tick box answers):
September 1st 2018
The last general meeting (before the Public Inquiry) of the Friends of Mill Field will take place on Tuesday evening, September 4th at 7.30 pm at the Open Door Church, opposite the Deepings School.
We have to prove 5 simple, Statutory Tests/Statements - which we can do with evidence and knowledge of local residents. Please come and help us present a water tight case!
Inspector for the Public Inquiry
July 30th 2018
The Inspector for the Public Inquiry made an unannounced visit to Millfield today. A number of local residents who were walking in Mill Field mid-morning were surprised to see two men in suits, carrying a clip board and some spoke with them. It was great that they were able to see that the site is well used by local residents.
Friends of Mill Field response to SKDC's Local Plan
July 29th 2018
Following our meeting on July 17th this is our response to SKDC's Local Plan.
The Village Green Application is approaching its last hurdle!
June 5th 2018
The Independent Barrister/Inspector has reviewed the counter arguments that we recently submitted and has decided to hold an Inquiry in the Deepings. Date to be decided.
This is good news!
Anyone who wishes to speak at the Inquiry should contact Pam 07850 825689 for further information.
LCC online survey (very short)
May 25th 2018
LCC want to hear your views on the future of Mill Field. There are 7 questions requiring a tick box answer and your postcode. Please click on the link below and complete before June 17th. Thanks.
N.B. go straight to online survey, no need to fill in the right-hand column "Did you find what you are looking for".
Fantastic turnout for drop in meeting with LCC this evening... thank you so much to all who came!!
May 17th 2018
Thank you too for your good humour as you were shunted back and forth as more folk kept arriving and we needed a photo shoot. It was great to have three Police present too, although I'm not sure exactly what they thought we were going to do!
Quite a few Friends of Mill Field couldn't make 6pm due to work or other commitments which is totally understandable. I counted at least 170 through in the first wave so that was fantastic especially as most residents had less than a week's notice. Some attended earlier in the session and some arrived later on, after we had been counted in, so it was a great turnout. It was fantastic that Cllr Martin Hill, Leader of LCC was there and spoke with many residents. Thank you all for your continuing support!!
Some Good News!
April 12th 2018
Just before Easter, a few of us finally made it to Grantham to meet with Cllr Michael King, Cllr Nick Neilson, Roger Ranson, Business Manager for Spatial and Economic Growth, and Steve Ingram, Strategic Director for Development and Growth, to discuss Mill Field.
We especially wanted to let them know:
The good news is that Mill Field, as a development site, has now been taken off the Local Plan, which will be published this month, because of the ongoing Village Green Application!!
Many thanks to everyone who sent in photos and messages prior to the meeting.
Thank you to SKDC for listening.
And thank you to all of you for your ongoing support as we continue in our fight to keep Mill Field as an informal, green, open space for the benefit of the community now and in the future.
Link to objection statements from LCC
February 12th 2018
A very big thank you
February 7th 2018
A very big thank you to all those who attended the committee meeting last week, it was great that members of the Council came too... we appreciate their support.
Thank you to everyone for all the comments and information that we received prior to the meeting. It was a tremendous help and we are now busy collating our responses for our solicitor.
Meeting Tuesday, January 30th
January 23rd 2018
There will be a meeting next Tuesday evening, January 30th, for all those who wish to be more involved in the Friends of Mill Field. We will be discussing the objections from LCC and our response to them. To register your interest please contact Pam for more information... email@example.com
Outline objections from LCC
January 9th 2018
Yesterday, January 8th, we received an email from the person who is managing our Village Green application with an outline of the objections that LCC has submitted. LCC have until Thursday January 11th to supply further evidence in support of these objections. Please follow the link:
Good news for our Campaign!!
November 20th 2017
Market Deeping Town Council have sent a response to SKDC stating that they do not want the proposed leisure centre to be built on Mill Field. They believe that it should be in a more central position for residents of both Deeping St James and Market Deeping.
Village/Town Green Application action
October 25th 2017
The Environment and Economy Department, who are handling our Village Green Application, are preparing to advertise our application, within the next couple of weeks. Notices will be erected at Mill Field and also sent to interested parties ie LCC and the farmer. There will be an announcement about our application in a local newspaper and any objections must be received by December 21st. Objections received will be sent on to Pam Steel, who is the named applicant.
A Friends of Mill Field committee meeting will be called and our responses will be sent to the objectors. It is likely that a non-statutory Inquiry will be held locally if there is no resolution after these exchanges. At the Inquiry an independent inspector would hear evidence and witnesses from both sides before making a decision. Members of the public would be able to attend.
We have access to legal advice and will use it along with other means to endeavour to protect this beautiful, highly valued, natural open space for our community and for future generations.
1000 Members and counting!!!
September 27th 2017
Today we welcomed our 1000th member to the Friends of Mill Field and the number continues to rise as more and more residents hear about our campaign.
Friends of Mill Field join the Open Spaces Society!
September 22nd 2017
The Friends of Mill Field group has now joined the Open Spaces Society which is committed to saving precious open spaces and parks. When we applied for Village Green status for Mill Field we used the Open Spaces Society's questionnaires to gather information and they were very helpful. Now the Friends of Mill Field group is a member we will have access to more advice and support for our campaign. We need to be prepared !
SKDC consultation deadline extended!
August 16th 2017
Although the original deadline for responses to SKDC's consultation for their Local Plan was August 11th, it has just been brought to my attention, by Adam Brookes, that on the online questionnaire SKDC has written:
"Given the level of interest we have had in the local plan and a number of requests to extend the deadline, we have now allowed another week before this round of consultation will close. All comments must be received by 4pm August 18th."
I don't know how many people would actually have looked there to see this announcement once all responses were in on time on August 11th but nevertheless if anyone hasn't commented, they have 48 hours to do so.
Responses to SKDC Consultation
August 2nd 2017
All responses need to be received by SKDC by 4pm on August 11th.
All responses need to be received by SKDC by 4pm on August 11th.
1) Written letters must be sent to: Every letter counts no matter how long or short! Some more points you may want to include and comment on:
Every letter counts no matter how long or short!
Some more points you may want to include and comment on:
In the foreword of the Local Plan it says” The purpose of the new Local Plan is to pave the way for growth and to ensure that we protect and safeguard what is special about our natural and built environment”
SKDC says that the key issues in their Local Plan include-“Improving access to open space, the countryside and recreational facilities”
In the vision part of the Local Plan it is written”The distinctive local character, unique local heritage and environmental and cultural assets will be a source of enjoyment for all”
“The planning system should contribute and enhance the natural and local environment by protecting and enhancing valued landscapes”… this statement is also part of the vision for South kesteven
Natural England says that natural green places provide natural solutions to many 21st century diseases.
Highway constraints….Millfield road would have to be widened for development and ruined
Mill field has been an area of natural beauty and of special significance for hundreds of residents for over 20 years
Mill field is the last area of countryside in Market Deeping reflecting the historic rural character of what Market Deeping used to be like
Mill field is a gateway to the town and its character should be preserved.
If Mill field is developed then Market Deeping would become a large mass of housing estates with one park... John Eves to cater for everyone... it's not enough!
2) If you're brave try the online questionnaire
You don't have to comment on everything…you can click on Don't know. An explanation and a link to this questionnaire can be found in the section below the John Hayes letter paragraph. You may need to copy and print the explanations to number 2, the written form and number 3, the online questionnaire before you start the questionnaire.
Good luck…….Use your own ideas…these are guidelines in case you're stuck!
John Hayes MP supports our campaign!!
25th July 2017
Having presented our case to John Hayes, we were delighted to receive a copy of the letter that he sent to the Chief Executive of SKDC expressing his desire to see Mill field remain as an open green space.
Response to SKDC Consultation on Local Plan to 2036
20th July 2017
2)Some help if you choose to complete a written form which you print off from SKDC's website:
Planning should enhance and improve peoples' lives.
Planning should recognise beauty of countryside
Planning should support and take account of local strategies to improve health, social and cultural well being
The National Planning Policy says that existing open space should not be built on and that
local communities should be able to identify local green space of special importance to them
SKDC ‘s Open Space study was done in 2009. Not up to date
SKDC has a Green Infrastructure Strategy for Grantham but not for Market Deeping
3) Online questionnaire
13th July 2017
Well done to all those who were able to attend the Consultation events in Deeping yesterday. The SKDC representatives certainly got the message loud and clear that a lot of residents objected to Mill field being used as a development site and they (SKDC) didn't seem too happy about that.
The dictionary definition of Consult is to obtain information and advice ... It seemed to a lot of residents that SKDC were the ones giving the advice and information, NOT eagerly gathering opinions and views from residents!
We have until 11th August to send our written comments and online questionnaires to SKDC. We must send in a MOUNTAIN of objection letters and all fill in the online questionnaire too.
There will be more information about this next week on this website.
Our membership numbers are rising every day, especially as more and more residents are learning about what is proposed. Many didn't know anything about the draft Local Plan.
On Saturday July 15th we shall be standing outside Tesco to promote our cause. Many residents of Deeping St James use Mill field and we haven't delivered any leaflets in Deeping St James yet nor in some streets of Market Deeping so we hope to reach more folk in this way. If you can spare an hour please text me and let me know. I will be there from 9am -1pm. Mobile 07850825689
SKDC draft Local Plan Consultation
12th July 2017
We encourage as many members as possible to drop in at one of the two SKDC Consultation events taking place today and voice their objections to developing Mill field.
You may find the following useful:
The National Planning Policy Framework ( A Government guide for Planning Authorities ) says :
(Paragraph 17) Planning should empower local people to shape their surroundings
..Find ways to enhance and improve the places in which people live their lives
Recognise the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside
Take account of and support local strategies to improve health, social and cultural wellbeing for all
(Paragraph 69)Local planning Authorities should create a shared vision with communities of the residential environment and facilities they wish to see
(Paragraph 73) Access to high quality open spaces and opportunities for sport and recreation can make an important contribution to the health and wellbeing of communities
(Paragraph 74) Existing open space, sports and recreational buildings including playing fields should not be built on unless they are surplus to requirements (following assessment) and the loss would be replaced by equivalent elsewhere
(Paragraph 76)Local Communities should be able to identify for special protection green areas of particular importance to them…
(Paragraph 77) where the green space is demonstrably special to local community and holds a local significance because of its beauty, historic significance, recreational value etc
We already made it clear last July about the special significance of Mill field and SKDC ignored us.
The Deepings Neighbourhood plan group's survey of 2016 shows that the vast majority of residents who responded said no to building on Mill field
There is a Village Green application on the site which proves it has been special for over 20 years.
In 2009 SKDC said that Mill field was not suitable for development because development could have a detrimental effect on the amenities of nearby residents and because of highway constraints.
Mill field isn't just a field, it has a long tradition of community events and recreational activities and as such is part of our town's heritage.
It's a beautiful and relaxing place and plays an important role in the physical, emotional and mental wellbeing of a large number of residents.
The site represents an important gateway to Market Deeping which is a rural market town. Market Deeping historically had a lot of rural lanes and fields until they were gradually built on over the latter part of the last century. This gateway area is one of the last rural areas in Market Deeping and should be preserved as such.
Moving the Leisure Centre down to Mill field road in order to expand the Deepings Comprehensive School is also contrary to the amenities of local residents and would alter the character of the area forever. During the week days local schools use the Leisure Centre and coaches go backwards and forwards to transport the children. The necessary widening of Mill Field road, the last rural lane on that side of town which at present gives so many walkers and joggers alike peace ,tranquillity and calm, would be contrary to all that Planning Authorities are supposed to be working towards. Moving the Leisure Centre may be a good idea but putting it near/on the northern industrial areas of town where there is already a gym, tennis and football clubs would be more suitable.
Everyone has a reason for valuing Mill field and it's important that we all say what is important for us, not that we all say the same thing. Cllr Ashley Baxter made some comments on Facebook yesterday about the Consultation which you may find helpful.
10th July 2017
On Wednesday July 12th SKDC will be visiting Market Deeping for public consultation on their draft Local Plan.
10am-3pm SKDC will be at a market stall
5pm -7.30pm SKDC will be at the Deepings Community Centre
Please drop in to object to development on Mill field
It's very important that lots of people attend and voice their objection to development on Mill field.
Last year there was an online questionnaire too ...we will give some guidance on that after Wed event.
On Monday and Tuesday we are delivering leaflets to as much of Market Deeping as possible to tell them about the Friends and to encourage them to drop in at the SKDC Consultation on Wednesday. If you can help with your road please let us know.
As we are sending out bulk emails lots of people are not receiving them as they are going straight into their junk email box so please check yours.
First meeting of the Friends of Mill field on Tuesday 4th July 2017
6th July 2017
Ashley chaired the meeting and began by explaining that this event was the culmination of a year of preparation by a small group of residents. A sequence of events had occurred…The village green application and then the publication by SKDC of the draft local plan that showed housing on the site.
Then Pamela Steel addressed the meeting:
1) “Why Mill field?”
2) How many people use it?
Hard to give exact number but didn't take long to get up to 100 signatures for petition by just walking on Mill field at different times of the day
3) What would I like to say to SKDC?
We will do everything in our power to save Mill field.
Gordon Smith then spoke about the Village Green application and answered questions :
Councillor Adam Brookes then spoke about the SKDC Draft Local Plan and the Deepings Neighbourhood Plan:
SKDC Councillor Nick Neilson said that it was important that people go to the SKDC Consultation events on Wednesday July 12th in Market Deeping to register their feelings about the proposed sites, in this case Mill field. He said that we must have a valid reason for objection.
Ashley said that we would prepare some ideas regarding potentially valid reasons and share these with interested residents via the Friends of Mill field website .Pamela said that we also need sheer numbers of people to go to the Consultation and voice their objections to Mill field being used for development. Obviously 70 residents who went last year weren't enough!
Ashley then appealed for people to come forward who would like to become more involved or even part of the Steering group for the Friends of Mill field.
At the close of the meeting a reporter from the Stamford Mercury took a photo of the group.
First meeting of the Friends of Mill field
6th July 2017
A huge thank you to all who attended our first meeting of the Friends of Mill field on Tuesday July 4th 2017. The Learning Room in the Deepings Community Centre was full with standing room only at the back which was brilliant. It was also good to know that many others had wanted to be there but had sent their apologies due to work/holidays etc. A report of that meeting will be posted on this page this evening.
In the News!
6th July 2017
There is an article about the Friends of Mill field in Spalding Today. Please click on this link: http://www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/news/village-green-effort-is-started-by-new-deepings-group-1-8040063
4th July 2017
Important meeting of the Friends of Mill Field TODAY at 7-8pm at the Deepings Community Centre. Come and have your say.
30th June 2017
We are hoping that a reporter from the Stamford Mercury will come to the meeting on Tuesday.
First meeting of the Friends of Mill Field
26th June 2017
Meet at the Deeping's Community Centre on Tuesday, 4th July 7pm for further information about the group and to have your say.
26th June 2017
SKDC's new draft site allocation and development plan allocates 200 new houses to be built on Mill field despite local residents' opposition when they were consulted in July 2016.
Application made for Village Green status
21st June 2017
Many thanks to all who submitted questionnaires, statements and photos and/or signed the petition.