Warning over preservation of village greens
"Time is running out" for the preservation of village greens in the Westcountry, conservationists have warned, ahead of a key debate in the House of Lords today.
The Open Spaces Society, Britain's oldest conservation group, says the Government's Growth and Infrastructure Bill will prevent future campaigns to designate green land for common use.
As part of moves to urge amendments to the Bill, which is now at the report stage, the group has highlighted successful campaigns locally which would not get off the ground under the plans.
Sugary Green in Dartmouth, Lower Park in Shaldon and Wishing Fields in Brixham have all been registered as village greens in the past two years.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Presently, campaigners in Exeter are fighting the city council over land at Eastern Fields which has been earmarked for a link road to service new housing.
Residents have applied to Devon County Council for the fields to be designated a village green, something the city council opposes, and the issue is due before a public inquiry.
Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, said amendments in the Lords were the last chance for people to "secure precious spaces".
"Lord Greaves has tabled amendments to mitigate the effect of the government's proposals and at least give local people a chance to register their greens before the guillotine comes down," she added. "Otherwise it will be grossly unfair for local people who will not know that the land they love is threatened until it is too late to save it."
The Government believes that campaigners are deliberately using the process of registration to block development, and that this in turn is stunting growth in the economy.
The Open Spaces Society disputes the claims and says there is "little evidence" to back them.
"There are many greens which have been registered in the last few years which were under threat and whose registration would be outlawed by the Bill," said Ms Ashbrook.
"Local communities will have only two months after the Bill gains royal assent in which to register land which is being eyed-up for development. So they should be identifying eligible land right now and putting in an application for a green.
"The cut-off date is only a few weeks away – by this summer it could be too late."