Fears that playing fields in St John’s may be sold off for housing could see a campaign to keep them open.

Worcestershire County Council owns the fields behind the YMCA centre in Henwick Road, but it has decided it no longer needs them.

It was leased by the YMCA from 2006 until 2011 and it it also used by community-based sports teams, including the Worcester Homeless Rugby team although it is gated and not generally open for public use.

County Councillor for the area Richard Udall raised the issue at County Hall, asking Councillor Karen May, the cabinet member responsible for Transformation and Commissioning: “Can [Cllr May] confirm that she is aware of the decision of the county council to declare the YMCA field in St John’s as surplus to requirements and that attempts are being made to commercially dispose of this land, which would make many sporting clubs and teams, including the current England Homeless Rugby Team, homeless.

“Will she agree to ensure that public access and public community use is protected and that discussions are held with local agencies or charities to ensure the future of this field. Furthermore will she confirm that it will not be simply sold to the highest bidder and then lost to the local community?”

Cllr May responded that the land is indeed surplus to requirements. She pointed out that the YMCA declined to renew the lease it had on the land in 2011 and that the council was “reviewing options to protect its asset and to dispose of the site.”

When pressed over whether the fields off Henwick Road and should be kept open for the public ,Cllr May told Cllr Udall: “I’d be happy to sit down and speak with him” but criticised his appearance on the radio talking about the issue before the meeting.

After the meeting Cllr Udall said: “The idea that I should meet Cllr May in private but not publicly represent the residents of my division is ridiculous. I’m not at all happy with her response. I am looking at starting a campaign to keep the fields open for community use.”

Cllr May responded: "Whilst the land in question is surplus to the council's requirements, we are currently liaising with the divisional ward member regarding the current situation. We will look into the best solution for the land in terms of both the local community and the wider general public."