Protest group hopes to halt housing plans with village green application

Gazette Series: Members of  Defend Dursley’s Green Escarpment  and residents protesting the possible development of surrounding fields at Hardings Drive in Dursley have applied to make the fields an official village green space (2442255) Members of Defend Dursley’s Green Escarpment and residents protesting the possible development of surrounding fields at Hardings Drive in Dursley have applied to make the fields an official village green space (2442255)

THE CAMPAIGN group looking to save green space near the centre of Dursley from a potential housing development has applied to make the fields an official village green.

Defend Dursley’s Green Escarpment (DDGE) has requested that the fields off of Hardings Drive, on the edge of Cockshoot Wood and Wesfield Wood, be considered a village green and thus protect it from housing development.

The move has come in reaction to pre-submission plans sent out by Dursley planning consultants Mark Snook Planning on behalf of landowner Colin Clutterbuck, who hopes to build 69 houses on the steep hill.

If Gloucestershire County Council accepts that the land can be giving village green status, than the proposed plans would effectively be halted before a planning application has been put in.

Joint chairman of DDGE and Garden Suburb resident, Keith Andrews, 66, said the fields had been used for years “as of right” by neighbours and by the community for recreation, exercising dogs, entertaining and teaching wildlife lore to children.

“Children play and party, parents organise bonfire parties. These fields have been used by us as a town green for well over the required 20-year period,” he said.

“It has been an emphatic ‘no development on these fields’ from all those concerned with its protection. Snook and Co’s proposals may well have been premature but it fired us into action at a crucial time.”

He urged people to continue to use the field to show it was a true community asset.

A Gloucestershire County Council spokeswoman said it was currently in touch with the applicant regarding the details of the application.

“Following these discussions we will look to validate the application," she said.

“If validated, there will be a six week consultation to invite comments from the landowner as statutory consultee, and local residents.”

Village greens have protected status and are usually areas of land within communities where local people can go to exercise, play sport and pass time.

These can include organised or ad-hoc games, picnics, fetes and other similar activities.

Whilst land forming town or village greens may be privately owned, many greens are owned and maintained by local parish or community councils.

Some greens may also have rights of common over them, meaning livestock can graze there.

When asked what their reaction was to the application, an employee at Mark Snook Planning told the Gazette they had not been aware of it, but did not wish to make any further comment.

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