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The residents of Weston, Bath, and the Open Spaces Society are delighted that four hectares known as ‘The Field Behind Purlewent Drive’ in Weston have been registered as a village green. This means that local people have the right to enjoy the land for informal recreation and it is protected from development.
Local people initiated the campaign in response to the unexpected, last-minute inclusion of the field for housing, in the Bath & North East Somerset (BANES) draft core development plan.
Assisted by the society, which provided advice on evidence gathering and the presentation of the application, Mr Lewis Hands of Purlewent Drive, on behalf of the community, applied to BANES to register the land. He provided evidence that the land had been used by local people for informal recreation for 70 years, ie since 1934. The land is owned by BANES, and there were no objections to the application. BANES considered that the application met the criteria and the senior rights of way officer, Graeme Stark, approved it under delegated powers on 29 July.
Says Lewis: ‘The field is used daily by locals for dog-walking and other recreation. We provided evidence from almost ten per cent of the inhabitants of Weston to this effect. Our application also met all the other criteria, such as showing that the land has been used “as of right” for recreational purposes for the last 20 years. In my opinion, the council had no choice but to register the land or face a lengthy, expensive and ultimately futile legal battle.
‘The council is supposed to represent the people and we therefore expect it to honour our wishes to preserve this clearly-beloved field as a green space. However, we shall be vigilant and shall defend any legal challenge to it.’
Adds Nicola Hodgson, our case officer: ‘This is a splendid outcome for this important piece of land. We were pleased to help our member, Lewis Hands, in his endeavours and are delighted that the efforts of local people have paid off. Now they can enjoy this field for ever more, by right.’