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Vortex site going for houses - what a surprise!


Bethell
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  • 1 month later...

Shame about the Church - there was some very nice detailing in the church itself and it had a very nice feel to it. Very hard to pull off in a modern building. There is some very high quality and valuable timber in there, which is probably why they are going at it slowly. The Church is nearly as bad as the Council when it comes to maintaining its assets.

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The Independent - Jonathan Brown - Friday 30 May 2014
 

God save Whitby village green from the Supreme Court

 

Verdict on public space in Whitby threatens to be dangerous precedent
 
“We are the Village Green Preservation Society,†sang Ray Davies nearly half a century ago in his celebrated paean to the rapidly disappearing delights of quintessential Englishness.
 
Now campaigners say the battle to safeguard the verdant squares which have typified a way of life since the time of King Alfred has suffered a major blow, after the Supreme Court put an end to a long-running campaign to preserve one such public space in Whitby, North Yorkshire.
 
The two-hectare field on Helredale Road might not at first glance evoke the spirit of Albion. There is no spreading oak tree, not even a duck pond – rather just a municipal patch of grass with a sloping football pitch in an otherwise unremarkable post-war local authority housing estate on the outskirts of town.
 
However, for Viv Wright, 67, a retired charity chief officer who recalls celebrating the Queen’s coronation there as a toddler, the findings of Lord Neuberger and four others earlier this month signals the crushing end of a seven-year campaign which has cost local people some £50,000 to wage.
 
Mrs Wright has seen three generations of children and parents play, walk dogs and generally while away summer evenings on the field which will now make way for the building of 105 affordable homes.
 
“I’m really very sad. People said we were Nimbys but we are not. We just didn’t want to lose this vital piece of green land,†she said. “It was somewhere to go. You brought your kids out there. You had bonfires on bonfire night – you could roast your potatoes in the embers. It used to be packed in the summer. People would have barbecues. Now children are all on computers,†she added.
 
In 2007, Mrs Wright applied on behalf of the neighbourhood council to have the field registered as a village green under the 2006 Commons Act and make it exempt from development. North Yorkshire County Council rejected the application, as did the High Court and the Court of Appeal.
 
Now the Supreme Court has concurred, ruling that while local people used the space “as right†they did not do so “as of rightâ€. This meant that although residents had enjoyed unfettered use of the space for more than the requisite 20 years, they did so with the approval of its council owners and therefore failed to qualify under the terms of the act.
 
But an additional finding by the Supreme Court could have ramifications likely to be felt much further afield. The judges clarified a previous ruling involving Sunderland City Council which means that the Helredale Road case will inform all future decisions on attempts to have areas designated as protected greens.
 
Mrs Wright said: “It means that the majority of council-owned land in the country which is used for leisure purposes can now be used for houses and that goes completely against the Government, which says we need our green spaces and we need our children to get out and play.â€
 
The Open Spaces Society said this was a serious setback coming days after the Court of Appeal threw out an application to register as a village green land owned by the church commissioners in Winchester, Hampshire.
 
Case officer Nicola Hodgson said: “The Government has already outlawed registration of land which is threatened with development in its Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013. Now the courts are severely narrowing the opportunities for registration. All this is happening at a time when our green spaces have never been more important.â€

 

This should read  â€œby right†they did not do so “as of right†

 

As of right and 20 year period 

 

Use has to be ‘as of right’ and not ‘by right’. In other words you did not have permission to use the land, you were trespassing. Use was without force, secrecy or permission. There were no notices up, no fences, and no one ever challenged you. Equally you did not creep about hoping to remain unseen. If, for instance, a land owner told the headmaster of a school that the children could use the land but that was never passed down to the teachers or pupils or parents and the land owner did nothing else that does not make it ‘by right’, permission has to be communicated down to the users. 
 
Local Councils and other bodies like the Church do make open spaces available to the public but there is often a notice to that effect. Also such spaces may be listed on the council web site (as is the case with Castle Point Borough Council) and the list is available at the council offices.  You use these areas ‘by right’ and they are out of scope of Village Green registration. 
 
The use during the 20 year period has to be unbroken, an application failed recently and one of the reasons was that there was a 3 months period when access was unavailable due to some construction work taking place and the area was fenced off.

 

Bad news for our future generations. The government has sold off the school playing fields and now they are looking at our civic open spaces. Is there no end to what they want to sell off. Watch out - it will be your children next. This will give carte blanche to developers, and that includes Registered Social Landlords ie Herefordshire Housing to build over all our established green areas. 

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