MOVES to provide a barbecue area on Petersfield Heath have sparked fears of urbanisation at the town beauty spot. Over the summer, grounds contractors reported that people had been lighting fires without permission around the cricket pavilion. And it is hoped that providing a barbecue area would put an end to unauthorised activity, instead creating a safe environment for members of the public to use. But opinion on the suitability of such a site on the Heath was split on Tuesday when members of Petersfield Town Council voted on whether they should press ahead with the scheme. Although it was narrowly approved that consultation should begin, Ken Hick feared that too many areas surrounding the pond were becoming urbanised. He said: "We are talking about the Heath, and this is something important. Once we do something there, it is difficult to go back on it. "It has always been my belief that it should be left as natural as possible, and I see this as a step towards an artificially-laid surface. "I think we need to take a close look at the Heath. Somebody ought to sit down and decide where we want to see the area in 40 years time. "Do we need so many car parking spaces around the Heath? The pond is for Petersfield people, not for people driving from Portsmouth. But Hilary Ayer, who fronts the working party which brought the proposal to the table, was adamant a barbecue area would be well received and said she had the full support of Hampshire fire and rescue and Petersfield police. Consultation is now due to start before the matter is referred to the town council grounds committee, the meeting was told.
‘Urbanisation’ fear of Heath barbecues
Friday 8th December 2006 12:00 am