A VILLAGE recreation ground will not be put forward for recreational development, much to the displeasure of residents.

Recreation facilities are few and fair between in Castle Hedingham, particularly for young children, and residents have been calling for an improved play area.

But at a Braintree Council Local Plan Sub-Committee meeting on March 9, it was decided that neither of two sites put forward would be allocated for informal recreation in the council’s draft Local Plan.

The decision leaves the way open for planning applications to develop the site.

The site is split into the recreation ground, owned by the owners of Castle Hedingham and a smaller site next to it, split by trees, which is owned by Braintree Council.

Richard Donaghy, representing residents, said at the meeting: “I find it embarrassing as a family that I have to drive my children to other villages just for adequate play facilities.

Not great facilities, just adequate.

“I find it unfair that similarly sized villages such as Gosfield have had thousands of pounds pumped into their excellent playground but clearly Castle Hedingham has had no investment in the past 20 years. What am I getting as a resident of Castle Hedingham for my contribution to Braintree Council’s budget?

“There is zero incentive for children to go to a playground that is utterly outdated and not up to standard.

It does not portray the village, or yourselves in a very good light when you have to drive elsewhere for decent facilities.”

Due to complications over ownership of the site, it was decided the recreation ground was not allocated, in the hope a possible solution presents itself.

Councillor John O’Reilly-Cicconi said: “In the last century I represented Castle Hedingham and this problem existed then. I do not find it that surprising that it still hasn’t been solved. The problem that faces the committee, is that the site is not deliverable and therefore could be struck down.

“The difficulties of ownership make it more difficult. I applaud the work done by the Parish Council.

They have gone to great lengths to present their residents views.”

Mr O’Reilly-Cicconi added: “It is not that Castle Hedingham does not have any facilities.

“There is a tennis club in the middle of the village, plus the cricket pitch.

“Where it fails, is for young children there is ancient equipment that is expensive to maintain.”