Peterborough Society of Model Railways’ move to Baston playing field derailed after opposition from residents

A MODEL railway club has chosen not to make a village playing field its new home after strong opposition from residents.

The Peterborough Society of Model Engineers wanted to move to Brudnell Playing Field in Main Street, Baston, after being forced to leave its home of 28 years at Thorpe Hall in Peterborough.

The Sue Ryder hospice at Thorpe Hall decided to extent its facilities so the society had to find another site to operate its miniature trains.

They approached the Brudnell Playing Field Management Committee about moving to Baston last year and talks progressed until last month, when a meeting to introduce the plans to neighbouring residents was held.

But a group of people living near to the playing field strongly objected to the plans through e-mails and at the meeting itself. As a result the society decided to find another site.

Society secretary Jim Rowden said: “Our general feeling is that we don’t want to go there if there is going to be opposition.

“It is a hobby we do, people enjoy it and it seemed to be very popular. We don’t want to go into an environment where there is hostility.

“We could understand that the villagers may have some concerns but we were a little surprised at the depth of feeling.”

The society had planned to take up a corner of the field with up to two tracks, which would be opened to families on Sundays. The rent they paid would have helped maintain the fields.

Chairman of the playing fields committee, Tony Squires, was disappointed the society had decided not to come to Baston.

He said: “It was viewed as a good thing for the village. But based on one of the e-mails they received, which was quite threatening, they took the decision that they no longer wanted to come to Baston.”

“The committee is quite disappointed that they have been forced to take that decision.”

Mr Squires said he was concerned some residents had formed an opinion on the society’s plans based on incorrect information.

Some residents contacted the Mercury to say they were disappointed they had not been consulted earlier in the process.

Emma Parkin, of Brudnell Close, said: “We weren’t in a position to air our opinion.

“My initial thoughts were that I didn’t want it to go ahead.

“The tracks would be backing onto our properties and there would be the prospect of devaluing our houses.”

Other concerns included noise, smells and safety.

The society is now looking for an alternative site. Visit www.peterboroughsme.co.uk to get in touch.