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A threatened open space adjoining Woburn Road, on the south side of Launceston, Cornwall, has been registered as a village green, following a public inquiry last February. The application was made by Mr Philip Wagstaff on behalf of the Woburn Residents’ Association. We helped the association with its claim and are delighted with the result.
The half-acre plot, which is owned by Cornwall Council, is like a large roadside-verge, with mature trees including English oak, London plane, giant redwood and Norway maple; bulbs have been planted and there is abundant wildlife. It has been enjoyed by local people, for walking dogs, blackberrying, children’s play and bonfire-night parties, for well over 30 years.
The council wanted to build on the land, and opposed the application for a green, but the public-inquiry inspector, Mr Alan Beckett, considered that the local people had satisfied the criteria for registration.
Now that the land is registered as a green it is safe from development and local people have rights of recreation there.
Says Phil Wagstaff, vice-chairman of the Woburn Residents’ Association: ‘For over two years the residents of Woburn in Launceston have been fighting Cornwall Council over its decision to obtain planning permission for five new houses on this small piece of amenity land known as Woburn Green.
‘It has been a very long and time-consuming struggle, but the committee and residents worked alongside each other to get this piece of land registered for all to enjoy.’
Adds Nicola Hodgson, our case officer: ‘It is splendid that this open space has been secured for enjoyment by local people for ever more, and we congratulate the Woburn Residents’ Association on its persistence.
‘It is fortunate that they applied to register the land before the Growth and Infrastructure Bill became law. This bill which is currently going through Parliament, will outlaw the registration of land as a green once it is threatened with development. That will put many open spaces at risk—even if people can prove they have evidence that it should be a green.
‘We urge communities to identify now any land which may be eligible for registration as a green and to apply to register it before it’s too late. Once the bill becomes law (by the end of April) you will no longer be able to apply to register land which is threatened by development. The clock is ticking.’