Barratt’s pre-emptive strike

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We have deplored Barratt Homes’ action last week to bulldoze The Ditches, a much-loved children’s play area, at Merton Green in Caerwent.  The Merton Green Action Group has applied to register the open space as a village green.

The ditches before bulldozing

The ditches before bulldozing

Monmouthshire County Council, the greens registration authority, will consider the application next week and there is likely to be a public inquiry.  If the land is registered as a green any development there would be unlawful.

Local people have enjoyed many recreational activities on the land over a long period—walking, kite flying, playing cricket and picking fruit.  Children rode bikes and played in the wooded part knows as The Ditches—until Barratt destroyed it.  The Merton Green Action Group understands that Barratt intends to start developing the site on Monday (15 March).

Says our general secretary Kate Ashbrook: ‘We are dismayed at Barratt’s moves to destroy this lovely site, before the application for a green has been determined. 

The ditches after bulldozing

The ditches after bulldozing

‘If the land is proved to be a green, Barratt Homes should be required to restore it to its former state—although it will not be easy.  The rights of local people to enjoy the land for informal recreation would be confirmed, and any interference with those rights could be unlawful.’

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