Village fights to keep land a natural habit

Land in Wallington which is to be sold by NHDC

Land in Wallington which is to be sold by NHDC - Credit: Archant

A VILLAGE is fighting to keep two pockets of land a natural habit.

North Herts District Council (NHDC) is planning to sell off unused pieces of land for social housing.

A list of potential sites for disposal was put forward to the council’s Cabinet in March 2011, two of which are in the village of Wallington, near Baldock.

With Cabinet due to make a final decision on the sale of the sites at a meeting on September 24, villagers are campaigning to keep the land at Kits Lane in Wallington for the village.

Rushden and Wallington parish councillor, Kate Heath, said: “NHDC might expect unused pieces of land to be a problem for residents. It may be an eyesore, attracting fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour, but this is not the case in Wallington, in fact the opposite is true.

“Residents have seen wildlife species on the land, such as hedgehogs, thrushes and various species of bat which are protected.

“Local residents value these pockets of land enormously, and feel they enhance the environment of the village. We believe they are valuable wildlife habitats. One piece that has been left unmanaged for 50 years is extremely rare and precious.

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“We do not believe that the tiny, one-off gain for NHDC asset–stripping our village justifies putting protected wildlife species in jeopardy.

“As one of the smallest parish councils in England, we cannot afford to enter into a bidding process.

“If NHDC simply does not want to be responsible for the land, the parish council would be prepared to buy it for a nominal sum or lease it for a peppercorn rent.”

Cllr Heath spoke out against the proposed sale at NHDC’s Baldock Area Committee meeting on Monday.

Cllr Terry Hone, NHDC’s finance portfolio holder, said: “The land at Wallington is one of a number of potential areas of land and properties identified in 2011 by NHDC’s Cabinet as suitable for disposal.

“At its meeting on Monday, Baldock and District Area Committee considered a number of options in relation to disposal of the land which will be reported to Cabinet on September 24, along with the views of the parish council.

“Cabinet will then make a final decision on the disposal of the land at that meeting.”

In March 2011, NHDC’s Cabinet decided that - with the exception of 1, 3, 18 and 19 - these sites and buildings are surplus to the council’s requirements and are consequently proposed for sale:

• Site 1 (Land adjacent to 1 The Green, Newnham);

• Site 2 (Land at Yeomanry Drive, Baldock);

• Property 3 (Baldock Town Hall);

• Site 4 (Land rear of 17-43 Clare Crescent, Baldock);

• Site 5 (Land at Kits Lane, Wallington);

• Site 6 (Garrison Court, Hollow Lane, Hitchin);

• Site 7 (Cranborne Avenue/Hawthorn Close, Hitchin);

• Site 8 (Passingham Avenue, Hitchin);

• Site 9 - withdrawn;

• Site 10 (Highover Road, Letchworth Garden City);

• Site 11 (Icknield Way, Letchworth Garden City;

• Site 12 (Ivel Court, Radburn Way, Letchworth Garden City);

• Site 13 (Baldock Road, Letchworth Garden City);

• Site 14 (The Pelican Public House, Letchworth Garden City);

• Property 15 (Letchworth Town Hall);

• Site 16 (Gernon Road, Letchworth Garden City);

• Site 17 (Windmill Close, Barkway);

• Site 18 (Greenbury Close, Barley);

• Site 19 (King James Car Park, Royston);

• Site 20 (Lumen Road, Royston);

• Site 21 (Orchard Way, Breachwood Green).