A PETITION with more than 1,200 signatures against plans to construct sports facilities and car parking on Britten’s Field has been handed to Ilminster town councillors.

Several people turned up to the town council’s open spaces committee meeting last Tuesday night to air their views about the plans and hand over the 1,279- signature petition opposing them.

Save Britten’s Field spokesperson Susan Moore said it was not opposed to more children’s play area facilities or footpaths and plants but was against the construction of permanent buildings and car parking.

She told the meeting: “The overwhelming response has been that most residents who were aware of the plans were against them – and there were a lot of residents who were not aware of the plans.

“Comments we had were things like: ‘we play rounders, hockey, ride our bike, fly our kite, play games and have a picnic or walk the dog’.

“By building on Britten’s Field, you are limiting and reducing its recreational use, not increasing it.”

Mrs Moore said no one disputed that the football club needed better facilities but she said that could be achieved on the Recreation Ground, where it is at present.

She added: “Ilminster should be proud to have such a fabulous facility in Britten’s Field and not be trying to spoil it and turn it into another sports field.”

Another campaigner said: “People told us it is a quiet haven and open green space where they can get away from the hustle and bustle of society.

“But with this development and plans to build the Canal Way development it will do away with the only green space in the town.”

The petition included signatures of people from Station Road, New Road, Summerlands Park Drive and Park Avenue, Blackdown and Winterhay Lane, among other areas in Ilminster.

The group said 7% of people they asked did not want to sign the petition and no-one under the age of 16 took part.

The plans include a new clubhouse for Ilminster Football Club at the bottom of Britten’s Field – with the club moving from its current Wharf Lane site – along with a parking area and children’s play facilities approved at January’s town council meeting.

The clubhouse would include four player changing rooms, two referee rooms and a social room also available to the community.