Council accused of ‘declaring war on summer’ in street row

Evelyn Clark Square. SUS-160427-000011008
Evelyn Clark Square. SUS-160427-000011008

Council tenants in Forest Row have accused Wealden District Council of ‘declaring war on summer’.

Families have been told they could be evicted if they let children play in the square outside their homes. They are also not allowed to play loud music, put up paddling pools or have barbecues in front of their new homes at Evelyn Clark Square. And some of them have accused Wealden council bosses of treating them like criminals.

Evelyn Clark Square. SUS-160427-000035008

Evelyn Clark Square. SUS-160427-000035008

But the council robustly defends the decision, saying other residents have complained about disturbance and noise from children playing in a communal area.

Evelyn Clark resident and driver Scott Fisher accused the council of acting like a ‘dictatorship’ and said: “The threat of eviction seems a bit extreme. We are not prisoners but we might as well be.”

He pointed out there is nowhere for children who live in the flats to play.

A Wealden District Council spokesman said: “We have received a number of complaints from residents about this issue. We must point out that the cul-de-sac is not safe place to play, with owners and visitors’ cars coming in directly from the main road. All families have access to a garden, either their own or a communal garden, providing a safe place for children to play and there is a park nearby at Upper Close.”

Another resident said some of the new properties have back gardens but felt it’s ‘unfeasible’ to think children could all play in them as some are tiny. She added that the council told one neighbour she should make a rota of different houses where children could play.

But Wealden defended their stance by explaining: “Respect and tolerance are important when living in a square like Evelyn Clark. We are not seeking to evict anyone. When contacting tenants in cases like this, we do remind them of their obligations as a tenant but always seek an amicable, mutual solution to any differences that occur.”

David O’Driscoll, Forest Row parish clerk, said: “This debate has completely by-passed us. This is a really successful new development of recently built, quality council houses. It replaced an outdated old people’s scheme which was demolished. There’s no space for vehicles to drive fast so I wouldn’t think there’s a danger issue although its important everyone’s concerns are taken seriously.”

Wealden concluded: “This is a new estate and many families are still settling in. We hope to set up a residents’ group and work with them on a number of issues including safe play areas and ways of reducing the speed of traffic entering the Square.”

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