A FORMER hockey pitch in Barry could be earmarked for a new affordable housing development as part of the Vale council’s “ambitious” programme.

The Vale council has confirmed it investigating using the disused hockey pitch to the rear of College Road.

But resident Judith Elliott said she was concerned that the overriding needs of residents were being ignored in favour of potentially another tightly packed housing estate.

Ms Elliott said: “It seems that the local authority is selling off all of Barry’s historical land and buildings to make Barry even bigger; even though we’re already the biggest town in Wales.

“I’ve been really lucky to live in a house backing onto the old hockey pitch for the last 10 years and have first-hand experience of the wildlife that this piece of land encourages.

“It could even be the reason we are experiencing the fantastic starling murmurations we’ve had in recent years.

“My garden is visited daily by a wide variety of birds including sparrow hawks; right in the middle of Barry.

She added: “As a practising counsellor I’m always interested in helping people to manage their mental health problems and keep mentally healthy.

“One of best ways of doing this is by going outside and experiencing the outdoors.

“Surely one of the best uses of this meadow is recreational, especially in such a busy area with schools close by and traffic problems already reaching crisis levels.

“Other areas of Barry, for example Marine drive, are so lucky to have their open space, why can’t this area have their natural open space with views over the channel within walking distance?”

“My concern is that commerce is overriding the needs of local residents and overlooking the local ecology and history,” she said.

“Has there been a public meeting to discuss the possibilities with local residents, that is a solar panel farm?

“Have other options other than housing been explored?

“Is the planned housing for the elderly, which is the need locally, or is it merely affordable housing to cram in as many lucrative houses as possible?”

Vale council head of housing and building services, Mike Ingram said: “As part of our ambitious housing development programme we are looking into the possibility of building much needed new affordable homes for local people on the disused hockey pitch to the rear of College Road.

“The project is still very much in its early stages.

“At this point we are conducting some pre-development surveys to establish if the land can support a small housing development.

“If these show that the land could support a new development of low rise affordable housing then we will begin a thorough consultation with local residents before drawing up any proposals.”