Blow for village green campaigners
CAMPAIGNERS have been dealt a bitter blow after an independent inspector rejected their application for a village green. For around five years residents in Clothall Common, Baldock, have campaigned for a piece of land at Yeomanry Drive to be given village
CAMPAIGNERS have been dealt a bitter blow after an independent inspector rejected their application for a village green.
For around five years residents in Clothall Common, Baldock, have campaigned for a piece of land at Yeomanry Drive to be given village green status.
The emotive issue came to a climax after a drawn out public inquiry in November where residents begged for the land not to be built on.
But an inspector who was called in to assess the issue has, after deliberating for weeks, recommended to the district council that the application be rejected.
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The final decision will be made on May 29 as the council decide whether to keep it green or go ahead with development.
Les Wilsher, who has always campaigned against the move, spent five hours on Saturday pushing leaflets through neighbours' doors to let them know what had happened.
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He said: "I'll always try to fight it, but it's a few people against politicians I'm afraid."
Although he promised to continue to campaign, he agrees that the outcome of the inspector's investigation has hit them hard.
He added: "It's unlikely they'll overturn the decision of someone they've appointed to look at it."
Baldock councillor Ian Knighton said: "As a council we've always said that it will be earmarked for housing, it's been completely open for years.
"It's nice to get an independent person's perspective but I do sympathise that there is a group of people who have got strong opinions the other way."
Proceeds from the sale of the land, estimated to be worth around £2 million, would be used as council expenditure.
Paula Farrant, Save Our Green Space campaign organiser, has not given up just yet.
She is distributing newsletters to those involved in the village green.
The newsletter, about the public enquiry, is calling on local supporters.
It states: "We think the point we failed on was politically biased and wrong.
"We can do something about it, but we are waiting to hear from you, because what we do will depend on you."
Clothall Common councillor Marilyn Kirkland, who still hopes the decision will be overturned, said: "I'm very disappointed at the findings of the enquiry."