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Steeton action group fears new laws could see more fields concreted over
10:00am Saturday 19th October 2013 in News
New laws making it tougher to have land allocated as a village green could lead to more fields being concreted over, according to past campaigners.
It is now more difficult for land to be registered as a village green, a classification protecting it for recreational use.
The Government says the system has been “abused” and that “spurious” applications are being used to block housing developments in rural areas.
It maintains that legitimate applications will stay protected, but a local campaign group says it will make it even harder for communities to fight housing developers. To have land designated as a protected village green, residents have to prove it has been used for by the community for recreation for at least 20 years.
“This is another ploy to destroy villages,” said Shona Cole, one of the people behind Steeton Village Action Group’s unsuccessful attempt to have fields at Thornhill Road designated as a village green into stop Redrow Homes building a housing estate of more than 200 homes.
“Soon there will be no green spaces left. Villages will have just merged into one. When the government say they want to protect green spaces it is a load of rubbish.”
Announcing the changes, a spokesman for the Department for Envir-onment, Food and Rural Affairs, said: “Loopholes in the system have increasingly been abused by people looking to stop local development.
“As well as having a negative effect on the rural economy and reducing the value of land – this reduces the availability of rural homes, facilities and hospitals.”
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