Gary Neville hits back at campaigners after being goaded on Twitter
Gary Neville has angrily hit back at campaigners who have delayed him turning green belt land into training pitches.
The Manchester United legend wants to develop land at Turn Moss in Stretford, near Manchester, for facilities for Salford City FC and Neville’s planned University (UA) 92.
Neville had been hopeful of having his proposals accepted at a planning committee next week, but his plans are now up in the air after the Conservatives – who supported the idea – lost control of Trafford council at the recent local elections.
With Labour primed to form an administration, the application hearing has been delayed, report the Manchester Evening News.
And having been wound up by campaigners on Twitter, Neville sparked a bitter row and insisted: “We will go somewhere else and I will send you pictures of what could have been achieved.”
Labour said it would go back to the drawing board on the proposals after ‘engaging with the community’.
Neville appeared to rule out a compromise, telling campaigners he is eyeing up two other locations in the borough.
The defender turned TV pundit and businessman defended the plans after Twitter user @tourandting posted: “@GNev2 Gone quiet on Turn Moss now your Tory mates have been given the boot, you ok?”
Neville said: “I’m Top of the world. It isn’t my loss. We will have what we want. I’m going to 2 locations elsewhere in Trafford tomorrow who are opening their arms to us for the investment and usage.
“It doesn’t affect us one bit! Please get that. However those kids of Stretford!! I’m sorry.”
After being accused of being a ‘sore loser’, Neville posted: “Imagine standing in the way of kids and sport because you were going to lose 2 acres (through a 3G) of all that space that you still would have been able to enjoy.
"The selfishness to not give up just a little.
“Kids struggle for focus, facilities and mentoring nowadays.”
He continued: “And we were willing to give so much. You have shown no compromise to ever recognise this space as sport!!
"The trail, playground, cafe were all facilities that recognised the community usage. We will go somewhere else and I will send you pictures of what could have been achieved.”
The planning application included a new café, a playground, changing rooms, an exercise trail and a 4G pitch.
Neville argues government austerity means the private sector is needed to improve sports facilities.
Opponents said the Turn Moss plan would have little benefit for residents, lead to the loss of green belt land and disturb wildlife.
Some also suggested that Salford City should use facilities in their own borough.
Neville told campaigners: “Once this campaign ends you will fade into your own world again.
“We could have been a hub, a facilitator, an active neighbour in assisting to harbour spirit and community for you on a long term basis.
“That’s what sport and energy do! Wellbeing, amenity, mental health support.”
Another post read: “We were called liars, suggested we were doing a dodgy deal, greedy, misleading with intent, harassed on here, mocked at events and our honesty and motives questioned again and again.
Neville suggested campaigners had ‘made it political and personal’ and suggested they had harmed Turn Moss rather than protected it.
“We actually were just looking fo invest for a long period for the use of some changing rooms and 3 pitches (that were never used). No more than that! You haven’t saved TM, anyone or anything,” he added.
Neville then posted: “My last ever message on TM. All the best in gaining the investment/income required to create a sustainable TM.”
Co-chair of the Friends of Turn Moss group Nigel Woodcock said: "We wish Gary well. We look forward to new plans for Turn Moss being drawn up – and we hope he finds a new site for his training pitches."
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