Protect our green and pleasant land

CHANGING landscapes and development are an inevitable part of a growing population.

But more communities are coming together to submit applications to councils to grant village green status for open areas, protecting the land from development.

In Bolton, there have been a number of applications in recent years including Great Lever, Farnworth and Horwich and, nationally, the figure is increasing.

However the government has submitted a bill which, if passed, would change the law on registering land as a town or village green.

Nationally, the Open Spaces Society helped 34 areas register successful village green status applications from 2010 to 2012.

Nicola Hodgson, case officer for the society, said: “People who are members of the society can get assistance throughout the application process.

“We explain how much evidence they will need and what the process is about.

“Obviously, at the moment, there’s a huge issue with the Growth and Infrastructure Bill. It’s now in the House of Lords and it’s just about to go to the committee stage.

“The society has put in amendments to try to reduce the impact of what is being proposed as, if it goes through as it stands, it will make it more difficult for people to safeguard their green spaces.

“People may be thinking, this is the last chance if the law changes.

“They are also becoming more aware and more concerned about protecting something which is special to them.

“Usually it’s communities getting together and working to try and get the evidence from people who have used the land, to put in an application.”

In August last year, an application to protect the field in Cedar Avenue, Horwich, was handed to Bolton Council.

It was compiled after three residents’ associations, Claypool, Brazley and New Chapel, joined forces to object to possible plans to build homes there.

They submitted it after discovering the land had been earmarked for housing by the council in the draft allocation plan, which identifies sites across the borough which could be built on in the next 15 years.

Jim Smith, of Brazley Residents’ Association, said: “It’s always been an open space, it’s been used by various groups, it seemed a shame. People were leafleted and they all signed a petition to keep it as a village green.

“From what I can gather, the council has taken it off the draft allocation plan and it’s now going through to be recognised as a village green.

“The residents are very pleased because it’s a valuable piece of open space.

“I think it’s like anything else, sooner or later somebody is going to have to say enough is enough.

“You can’t keep on developing these areas because you get to the problem of where do the youngsters go and play?”

The 72-year-old grandfather, of Gloucester Avenue, Horwich, added: “It’s the old adage — when it’s gone, it’s gone.”

And people living near land in Highfield Road, Farnworth, also launched a bid to have the green space transformed into a village green after plans were submitted to build 13 houses on it.

Other residents’ groups have also launched campaigns against plans to build homes on green spaces.

These include people living near land between Waggon Road, Winchester Way and Mobberley Road, in Breightmet Great Places Housing Group has submitted plans to build the houses on the land and says the two hectare field is “infrequently used” and socially rented homes are needed.

But campaigner and Winchester Way resident Beverley Roscoe said building on the land would destroy a well-utilised green space.

The government says the plans in the Growth Bill will ensure communities that wish to see land developed in their areas will no longer be overruled by what it calls “an abuse of Town and Village Green legislation”.

A clause in the bill states local people will no longer be able to register a piece of land as a village green if any developers have applied for permission to build.

Owen Paterson, environ-ment secretary, said: “Town and village greens are cherished community spaces and it’s absolutely right they continue to have the strongest protection.

“Yet the system can be abused to stop developments like affordable housing from being built.

“We’re stamping down on the abuse of this law that can effectively shut local communities out of deciding what development is right for them. This Government has a vital mission to support growth and spread aspiration, and these new plans will help that to happen.”

The Open Spaces Society said there were about 185 applications for new village greens, in 2009, compared with about 400,000 planning applications.

The Friends of Walmersley Village (FOWV) has submitted an application to Bury Council which, if approved, would create Bury’s first village green at the open space at Springside Road adjacent to Christ Church Walmersley.

Steve Tilbrook, from FOWV, said: “The church wants to sell their field for development. We have offered alternative ways to the church to raise the funds they need, while keeping the field a green space.

“If it’s lost, it’s going to change the character of the village. That field has been in the heart of the village for 100 years.”

In July 2011, plans for a new building for Clarendon Primary School, Clarendon Street, Great Lever, were halted after an application was submitted to grant the land earmarked for develop-ment village green status. But the scheme was given the go-ahead in October.

Comments (6)

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10:40am Wed 30 Jan 13

xxenigmaxx says...

Granted there is a shortage of property in this area but is it really fair to take away the only bit of greenery that is left in this area for many to see. We should be helping to preserve this land not pollute by building on it anymore, our children should be able to grow up with the benefits of breathing clean air instead of air polluted by exhaust fumes.
Granted there is a shortage of property in this area but is it really fair to take away the only bit of greenery that is left in this area for many to see. We should be helping to preserve this land not pollute by building on it anymore, our children should be able to grow up with the benefits of breathing clean air instead of air polluted by exhaust fumes. xxenigmaxx
  • Score: 0

12:53pm Wed 30 Jan 13

_A5HA11_ says...

Those tree hugging hippies again. Everyone saying that the country needs growth yet every time any investors plan on building a few wind farms and houses these so called environmental friendly people or as I like to call them, hippies try everything in their power to stop it. Growth brings job which in turn lower the amount the government have to spend on benefits, people feel better about them self’s because they earn a living instead of dossing around all day. The country is lifted out of this whole we’re in now. It’s about time we started thinking what’s best for the country and not trees and grass for once. And the thing about more pollution is a load of rubbish. Surely the cars must have come from somewhere else in the country to start off so the change will be little to none. Growth is GOOD. Because if hippies always fight against things being built the people who are investing in the area will just go somewhere else and then we’ll be stuck with no growth or anything. Hay, at least the trees are happy
Those tree hugging hippies again. Everyone saying that the country needs growth yet every time any investors plan on building a few wind farms and houses these so called environmental friendly people or as I like to call them, hippies try everything in their power to stop it. Growth brings job which in turn lower the amount the government have to spend on benefits, people feel better about them self’s because they earn a living instead of dossing around all day. The country is lifted out of this whole we’re in now. It’s about time we started thinking what’s best for the country and not trees and grass for once. And the thing about more pollution is a load of rubbish. Surely the cars must have come from somewhere else in the country to start off so the change will be little to none. Growth is GOOD. Because if hippies always fight against things being built the people who are investing in the area will just go somewhere else and then we’ll be stuck with no growth or anything. Hay, at least the trees are happy _A5HA11_
  • Score: 0

1:26pm Wed 30 Jan 13

tony000 says...

like bolton council who promise land to the locals .spend good money on plans for a comunity area. build a nice wrought iron fence around the land witch must have cost 50k plus .then take the land back .for 21 houses .and will take down the 50k fencing .when asked why they put the fence around land in the first place ,as yet no reply as been given .its a scandle and a total waist of good money no wonder we are in ression.greenroyd ave
like bolton council who promise land to the locals .spend good money on plans for a comunity area. build a nice wrought iron fence around the land witch must have cost 50k plus .then take the land back .for 21 houses .and will take down the 50k fencing .when asked why they put the fence around land in the first place ,as yet no reply as been given .its a scandle and a total waist of good money no wonder we are in ression.greenroyd ave tony000
  • Score: 0

1:40pm Wed 30 Jan 13

marco999 says...

People like me buy houses in an area that is semi-rural because we love the countryside and the fresh air. We tend to pay a much higher price for our properties than people in comparable houses in more highly developed areas, but are happy to do it. Why then should we have to fight constantly against greedy developers and unfeeling councils to protect our cherished environment? If the area of open fields and countryside across the road from my house is eventually ‘developed’ and great housing estates spring up on it – will the developers and council recompense me the extra 70k I had to pay to live in this area in the first place? I very much doubt it.
If the population keeps growing and new homes are always needed then find somewhere else to build houses - but don’t penalise us who have worked and slaved for years to be able to buy somewhere nice in the countryside
People like me buy houses in an area that is semi-rural because we love the countryside and the fresh air. We tend to pay a much higher price for our properties than people in comparable houses in more highly developed areas, but are happy to do it. Why then should we have to fight constantly against greedy developers and unfeeling councils to protect our cherished environment? If the area of open fields and countryside across the road from my house is eventually ‘developed’ and great housing estates spring up on it – will the developers and council recompense me the extra 70k I had to pay to live in this area in the first place? I very much doubt it. If the population keeps growing and new homes are always needed then find somewhere else to build houses - but don’t penalise us who have worked and slaved for years to be able to buy somewhere nice in the countryside marco999
  • Score: 0

3:11pm Wed 30 Jan 13

Brumas says...

What kind of world does A5HA11 live in? Because I don't want to live there, it must be a concrete cube with no windows, the likes of which he thinks we all should live in. Just to get a glimpse of reality I suggest he looks at a satellite photo of the British Isles at night. If he then can distinguish the boundary between Manchester and Liverpool, he will get some idea of just how densely populated our area is. Besides which, many of the area's council's (Not just Bolton) are targeting for development were set aside by a little known previous planning legislation. Called at the time "The Six Acre Rule" which stated that for each 1000 head per capita, there should be Six Acre's of open recreation space created. Like wise there is similar planning legislation in place now, albeit with a different name that does exactly the same thing. On top of which there is planning legislation that protects open recreation space from development, unless it is replaced by equivalent or better than facilities. So ask are the powers that be proposing to replace any of the recreation space they propose developing? To finish I don't want to want to live in a concrete jungle, where everyone is obese, plus I am not a tree hugger.
What kind of world does A5HA11 live in? Because I don't want to live there, it must be a concrete cube with no windows, the likes of which he thinks we all should live in. Just to get a glimpse of reality I suggest he looks at a satellite photo of the British Isles at night. If he then can distinguish the boundary between Manchester and Liverpool, he will get some idea of just how densely populated our area is. Besides which, many of the area's council's (Not just Bolton) are targeting for development were set aside by a little known previous planning legislation. Called at the time "The Six Acre Rule" which stated that for each 1000 head per capita, there should be Six Acre's of open recreation space created. Like wise there is similar planning legislation in place now, albeit with a different name that does exactly the same thing. On top of which there is planning legislation that protects open recreation space from development, unless it is replaced by equivalent or better than facilities. So ask are the powers that be proposing to replace any of the recreation space they propose developing? To finish I don't want to want to live in a concrete jungle, where everyone is obese, plus I am not a tree hugger. Brumas
  • Score: 0

10:01pm Fri 1 Feb 13

Robert2012 says...

Developers? These houses are affordable homes for rent not for sale for some property developer to make handsome profits from. These same NIMBY'S will be the first to lambast the current government for not trying to drag this country out of the mess the previous government left it in. By not hitting its targetsvfor new affordable homes.Yet as soon as new affordable homes are being built, the piece of land that is basically a dogs toilet is sacred ground that their children happily play cricket on every night.
Do these people not realise the jobs and apprentices that are created not to mention the local spend that local shops benefit from during construction.
Well done the the housing associations and the council.
Developers? These houses are affordable homes for rent not for sale for some property developer to make handsome profits from. These same NIMBY'S will be the first to lambast the current government for not trying to drag this country out of the mess the previous government left it in. By not hitting its targetsvfor new affordable homes.Yet as soon as new affordable homes are being built, the piece of land that is basically a dogs toilet is sacred ground that their children happily play cricket on every night. Do these people not realise the jobs and apprentices that are created not to mention the local spend that local shops benefit from during construction. Well done the the housing associations and the council. Robert2012
  • Score: 0

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