Thursday 19 January 2017

Ochre Dike Playing Fields, one of more than 800 green open spaces in Sheffield, was officially recognised as a Fields in Trust protected site at a ceremony yesterday (Wednesday 18 January).

Located near Crystal Peaks shopping complex, Sheffield College and housing, the playing fields are an important green space to those who live, work and study in the area. Along with local councillors, residents fought to protect the site to make sure it stays that way.

Fields in Trust protects open spaces all across the UK from being developed – from sports pitches to children’s playgrounds, bicycle trails to country parks.

Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, said: “We are very lucky to have so many beautiful green spaces here in Sheffield: The Outdoor City and we know how valuable they are to our residents.

“People in the local area have fought hard to protect the playing fields at Ochre Dike and I’m pleased that their passion has been rewarded in this way.

“Today’s ceremony, along with our recent award from the Fields in Trust, demonstrates our commitment to protecting the outdoor spaces that make out city so great. I’d like to thank everybody involved for helping us to preserve this wonderful site so that it can be enjoyed for many generations to come.”

The playing field on Ochre Dike Lane, Waterthorpe, was formally designated in 2015 after members of the local community worked with Sheffield City Council to secure the status. Since then they have been waiting to receive the official plaque of designation.

Yesterday that plaque was unveiled at the official designation ceremony. The Trust’s Jamie Leeson was there to reveal the plaque with Councillor Mary Lea and David Cooper, Head of Policy and Projects at Sheffield Parks and Countryside. They were joined by local councillors and residents who planted a tree as part of the ceremony and a new sign was installed on site.

Jamie Leeson, Development manager at Fields in Trust, said: “Sheffield City Council are demonstrating the value of their precious public green spaces such as Ochre Dike Playing Fields by protecting them forever with Fields in Trust.

“At a time when there is pressure on land for housing and commercial development we applaud the decision to safeguard recreational space for future generations and provide opportunities for families and the wider community of Sheffield to enjoy time outdoors. Access to parks and playgrounds contributes to physical health, mental wellbeing and community cohesion resulting in more active and longer, healthier lives.”

This comes after, six weeks ago, Sheffield City Council won a national award for Partner of the Year, for its work with Fields In Trust on protecting green spaces in the city.

The Partner of the Year Award recognises those organisations who have gone the extra mile over the last year to advocate the work of national charity Fields in Trust and to further its mission of ensuring everyone – young or old, able-bodied or disabled and wherever they live – should have access to free, local outdoor space for sport, play and recreation.

Ochre Dike is one of Sheffield’s three Fields in Trust sites, which also includes Weston Park, the city’s only Centenary Field (Centenary Field status recognises all those who lost their lives in the First World War) and Woodhouse Mill recreation ground, which was dedicated as a Queen Elizabeth II Field as part of the 2012 Diamond Jubilee celebrations.