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Village green appeal rejected again
5:40pm Tuesday 30th October 2012 in News
A GROUP campaigning to protect a treasured green space in Walcot was shocked when its application to designate it as a village green was returned by Swindon Council.
Swindon Walcot and Parks community group wants to gain the status for Buckhurst Field, between Buckhurst Crescent and Chickerell Road, to safeguard it against development.
Under the Commons Act 2006, the applicant has to show that a significant number of inhabitants have indulged as of right in sports and pastimes on the land for at least 20 years, and they continue to do so at the time of the application.
An initial application was rejected by the footpath and rights of way committee in April after the council’s legal officers said the application did not meet this criteria.
SWAP re-applied with more information on the status of the land, plus 210 letters from residents backing the proposal.
They were expecting the application to be heard by the council on October 16.
But officers returned the application with a letter saying the committee would not re-reconsider the proposal as there was no new evidence.
SWAP claims Swindon Council wants the land to be developed and is stalling to allow Parliament to pass new legislation, which aims to stop village green applications blocking and delaying development.
SWAP’s project officer Thomas Jeffery said: “They aren’t accepting that we’ve gone back with the information required.
“They don’t want us to have this land as a village green. They’re stalling so they can get this sorted out in Parliament. ”
A Swindon Council spokesman said:“Firstly, the reason for refusing the previous application in April remains unchanged.
“Secondly, for any application to be considered by the committee, there has to be a statutory 28-day public consultation period. The application wasn’t submitted in time for this to happen before October 16.
“The council's solicitors correctly advised committee members that the land is held by the council for the purposes of section 164 of the Public Health Act 1875.
“This means the use of the land by the public for sports and pastimes is by permission of the council, and therefore the land can’t in law be registered as town and village green.”
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