Hull4Heroes founder says veterans village will save lives after £10m-plus scheme in Hull wins green light
Coun Geraldine Mathieson, joint chair of the HEYwoods tree planting scheme, told fellow councillors she estimates 3,000 trees will be have to be relocated along with a community orchard.
She said residents were invited years ago to take the site on the Hull side of the boundary over as a community facility and volunteers included veterans who needed it for their mental health.
She said: “That’s all been taken away and that’s why there is resentment.”
Coun Phil Davison, who also voted against, said he’d visited and seen children playing on the football pitch and spoke to residents “passionate about it remaining open to the public.”
However other councillors felt the benefits of the scheme, which aims to provide a temporary home as well as training and education for veterans leaving the Armed Forces, outweighed the harm.
Trevor Fishburn, a trustee of Hull4Heroes, told the committee the plans would create “an additional 10 acres of open space which can be accessed.”
He said the charity had helped 10 veterans in the past three months secure a permanent home and in the first 11 days of this month, they had supported five veterans who had attempted to take their lives.
He said: “As a charity trustee I feel the responsibility to stop the rot.”
Speaking afterwards Hull4Heroes founder Paul Matson said he was “absolutely ecstatic”.
He said: “I am so happy for peoples lives that it will save and I am confident to say it will save a lot of lives.
“This is all about prevention.”
The site will include a mental health treatment centre, where veterans can access help, rather than being forced to wait for months.
The construction of the village will be filmed for TV and he was “immensely confident” of raising the £10m to £12m needed to build the site from a mix of private and public sources.
He insisted people from the nearby estate would be able to walk through the development, adding: “We will definitely be working with the local community - we have to.”