Members of The Friends of Temple Memorial Park have handed in 228 objection letters to South Tyneside Council at 10am this morning.  The letters have been collected by the group from local residents wishing to make their objections to the plans to build a new sports complex on the fields of Temple Memorial Park and to fence off up to 40 acres of land from public use.

The Friends of Temple Memorial Park group was set up in response to the plans published on the 30th November 2017 which for many were the first time they’d heard of the plans, despite the land being gifted to the people of South Shields in 1944 by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for their efforts during World War II.  Local residents are astounded that the council and Westoe Rugby Club have been doing deals on the use of the park, without their knowledge and were given only 3 weeks to lodge their complaints against the plans.

A public meeting was called by the group on the 21st December 2017 and was attended by over 70 members of the local community.  Local councillors and the sports club were invited to the meeting but didn’t attend, claiming “it was a busy time of year”.  Residents were also furious that mandatory notices had been taken down from the park boundaries in a bid to suppress the information.

Whilst the sports club have stated their ‘surprise at the backlash from the community’ and would ‘welcome a meeting with concerned residents’ they have failed to request or organise anything.

A Facebook group set up by the Friends has over 600 members.  Comments such as “If I hear one more person say that Westoe club is for all, I’ll scream!” are common-place within the group as are complaints about the behaviour of the council and local councillors “What happened to councillors that represented the people, now they just sit back untill they want your vote”.  The group’s petition has now reached over 2,400 signatures and will be sent to the council on the 3rd Jan, the deadline for submissions against the plans.

The Friends of Temple Memorial Park are now looking to establish themselves as a constituted group. Claire Wood said, “We know from past campaigns that we can’t sit back and hope the council will look after the park.  They’ll be back for more, especially if these plans go through. We won’t let them try to hush things through anymore!”