WORK is now underway to transform the Browns Lane playing fields despite concerns over the loss of the facility in lockdown.

Plans to overhaul the site were approved last year, including an accessible path, new seating, a play area, a multi-use games area and a small football pitch.

The fields were closed off for work to begin on Monday, leading to some residents raising concerns about the loss of the facility during the pandemic.

But Cllr Toni Fox, Residents of Wilmslow member for Dean Row, insists now is the right time to carry out the work, which will also include new planting and drainage improvements.

She said: "This open space serves a large, and increasing, number of residents in the local area.

Knutsford Guardian:

"Over the last five years I have been contacted by many residents, on numerous occasions, wanting to know when the improvements would be implemented.

"I am aware that some residents are concerned about the closure of the site.

"However on balance, as the country moves out of lockdown and more travel for exercise is permitted, the decision was made to implement the scheme now, rather than postpone it for 12 months."

The fields are a notorious hotspot for flooding in the winter months, and Ansa – which is carrying out the work for Cheshire East Council – says it would not be possible for the improvements to go ahead in those conditions using heavy machinery.

The site is expected to be closed for 22 weeks, but this is dependent on weather and any revisions to social distancing guidelines.

Cllr Fox added: "I do appreciate and sympathise that this will cause inconvenience and disruption to residents in these difficult times, however the overall feedback that I have had from residents who I have spoken to supports the decision to start the works now rather than delay it until 2021.

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"Whilst I had hoped that areas of the site could remain open during the works, unfortunately I have been advised that the site will have to be closed to the public for health and safety reasons.

"Whilst I understand and acknowledge the concerns raised by some residents in these difficult times, at the same time I am finally, after five years of campaigning, very much looking forward to seeing the transformation of this underutilised, and often inaccessible and boggy field, into a neighbourhood park that is suitable for people of all ages, all year round."

Work is being funded entirely from developer contributions.