Henlow villagers told ‘playing green’ will stay private

AN APPLICATION to register a piece of land in Henlow as a community village green was refused by a council last week, despite claims that it has been used for village activities for the past 20 years.

A nearby resident submitted the petition to keep the land at Town Farm Court, which is privately owned, for use by the village.

But Central Bedfordshire councillors at last Wednesday’s Development Management Committee meeting unanimously refused the application, which was submitted by neighbour Wendy Rapacchi on behalf of other residents.

It follows a detailed objection written by the owners of the land, who contested points in the application and have strongly objected to the proposals from the beginning.

In their objection, the owners said: “The area in question is our back garden and has always been part of the grounds of Town Farm House.

“No-one entered or carried out any activities without our permission. We ran social events but attendance at all was strictly by invitation.”

Wendy, whose application was submitted in husband Ray’s name after access to the field was fenced off in 2009, claimed that the orchard was enjoyed by families for sport and pastimes.

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“There was always an open pathway. It’s been used by cricketers and for gardening, leisure and children’s games,” she said.

“It’s quite derelict at the moment, and it’s an eyesore in the village rather than a beauty spot.”

The council said that its decision to turn down the application was based on inadequate grounds to dedicate the land as a village green.