At the Greenfields Recreation Area in Shrewsbury, yoga classes are ending up while near, people walk their dogs and children play before school. It’s a peaceful scene… but away from the park battle was fought between the residents and the council, and now it is moving for Supreme Court.
In 2017 section of the park was sold by Shrewsbury City Council developer for luxury housing, but without consulting community or even advertise the proposed sale despite being legally required to do so.
“His like someone comes and sells off separately of your garden in build and not checking whether they sell off or asking you about it,” said Marion Curtis, in part of campaigning community group Greenfields, made up of 300 inhabitants. “This is what made I am very angry”.
Hearing in the Supreme Court in December may also influence on local authorities throughout the country. Tips do up for limitations in government funding – and an attempt to satisfy demand for new houses – for sale off to developers pockets of earth meant for in public. It happens in anxiety rate: it is believed that almost half of public land in UK was sold off since the 1970s and this more than 4000 public premises and buildings for sale off each year in England is alone.
Greenfields land was first bought by the local government in 1926 for £1,000 and held in trust for community use. Through freedom of information request, Peter Day, who was leading in the campaign could grab hold of park deeds.
Documents I have read Observer, show what area in the question was part of wider park rather than “land adjacent to” that how council describes area. It was taken over by Shrewsbury City Council. in 2010 during the reorganization of local authorities.
During second world war, area was used for excavation for victory campaign and turned into temporary allotments. Thereafter area just never been re-incorporated back in main park and was left go crazy.
In 2019 judicial review found local government”failed take reasonable steps» establish before the sale whether the site was part of of a recreation area, which “very likely” was. However, Ms. Judge Lang concluded that public rights over site cannot be forced on in developer.
In 2020, the external auditor PKF Littlejohn Ltd. found “serious deficiencies in management” in sale of in public space. Amanda Spencer, council deputy city secretary, said Shrewsbury City Council is taking the matter very seriously. Advice set up an independent investigation into the sale led by Michael Redfern QC. of Earth.
Published last month report makes it uncomfortable to read for advice. redfern found “powerful and irrefutable evidence that area Sales off has always been a part of a park. He said the city council “raised the drawbridge and fell asleep down’ by refusing to participate with residents and seek shelter in misconception that area was not a part of the park is “beyond any period that could be considered reasonable.”
“We are unable comment in in detail until we carefully consider his findings,” Spencer said. BUT public there should be a meeting on Wednesday.
Day says it was David and Goliath struggle to get to this stage, but campaign now there are more of them. “Every month I get emails from groups up as well as down country who start to look alike battles who want to know how we’ve made it as far as we’ve got,” he said. says.
“Our case may set a national precedent, one way or other. Or we will lose, and the local authorities will see what can be sold off parks or sections of parks – or if we win tips can rethink plans they have to sell off similar pockets of public land. Here’s what’s at stake. Is not just about our local community Any more”.