Teacher demands play area be moved so he can ‘get away from children’ Image: ceebeestock AdobeStock_207781879

A PE teacher demanded in vain that play equipment be moved further from his new home because he wants to be away from children after work.

Dean Dummett appeared before Bedford Borough Council’s planning committee on Monday to object to a revised layout of a play area at the Broadmead Road development in Stewartby.

Mr Dummett claimed he had been ‘lied to’ by the developer who had shown ‘bias’ in favour of residents in the northern part of the wider Stewartby Park area by moving the play area away from them.

A spokesman for Persimmon Homes expressed “sympathy” for the objectors but added that the company faced similar problems wherever it tried to place the equipment.

Much of the equipment has already been put into the new positions, the committee was told.

Mr Dummett said: “As a teacher I made sure to double check with Persimmon that the area would not be a park before purchase as I would not want to live by a park where there would be increased possibility of seeing students I teach, and wanting be be away from children when at home.”

He added: “All the park equipment is now shoved up by mine and neighbours’ houses, helping out the resident in phase one, therefore showing complete bias in favour of the phase one resident.”

He said it was showing “complete disregard for the living conditions of myself and my neighbours.”

He added that a previous design had been fair because all the equipment was spaced out. It was now “clustered” at his and his neighbours’ side of the development at Dapple Bank.

The committee was told that it would be better to have all the equipment grouped together because parents would find it easier to keep an eye on their children.

But Mr Dunnett said he used his own “vast experience of children” to prove that the point had “no weight”because a child could fall and hurt themselves even if they we one metre away.

He appealed to the committee to consider “our living conditions” and bear in mind their worries about noise, security and privacy.

Persimmon Homes spokesman Matthew Harmsworth said:  “We understand the issues that have been expressed and I express sympathy with the objector with the concerns he has raised and we have made an effort to mitigate the issue.”

He added: “No matter where we put it there’s going to be some properties that are within that 20m buffer zone.”

Therefore he said a bench had been turned around, and trees and bushes would be planted to screen the area.

He said he thought it was an improved design to provide a play area for families across the 285 home development to enjoy.

Members of the committee chose not to debate the issues, instead moving straight to a vote.

They agreed by seven votes and one abstention to agree to modify a previously approved planning condition.