Victory in fight to save green

CAMPAIGNERS petitioning to stop a piece of land from being built on have jumped another hurdle in their fight. The district council s Baldock area committee met on Monday to discuss the future of a green on Clothall Common. According to the council, the s

CAMPAIGNERS petitioning to stop a piece of land from being built on have jumped another hurdle in their fight.

The district council's Baldock area committee met on Monday to discuss the future of a green on Clothall Common.

According to the council, the site off Yeomanry Drive was formally identified for housing in 1984.

But after a presentation from Alison Gentle - a member of the campaign group SOGS (Save Our Green Space) - the committee voted to recommend to Cabinet to keep the land as an open space.


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SOGS member Paula Farrant said: "What the council are looking after is in trust for the local people but they are getting rid of everything.

"There's going to be nothing left and I think that's worrying."

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Liberal Democrats Cllr Marilyn Kirkland and Cllr Steve Jarvis overcame opposition from a lone Conservative, Cllr Ian Knighton, to win the vote.

Cllr Kirkland said: "I think it's undoubtedly the case that the use of the site has increased from what it was 10 years ago and this needs significant consideration."

But Cllr Knighton disagreed.

He said: "I think we have to look at this logically and fairly.

"If we actually look at the history there are a number of significant events which would have made it known to the public that it was always earmarked for housing."

The sale of the land stands to make £2 million which has already been included in the council's budget.

Barrie Jones, head of the council's financial services, said: "We are reaching a point where there are very few pieces of land at our disposal.

"In real terms we have three pieces of land worth about £6 million, of which Clothall Common is one.

"All these are included in our budget and without the £2 million there could be a significant impact on spending."

Mr Jones also said that failure to sell the land could result in a council tax rise "well in the realms of five per cent."

Cabinet is due to meet on September 12 when the future of the land will be decided.

Cllr Kirkland said: "We will fight the next fight.

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