Shropshire Star

Row over sale of Shrewsbury recreation land to be heard by Supreme Court

Campaigners have hailed a "historic and unique" opportunity after the Supreme Court granted permission to appeal a controversial sale of land to housing developers.

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Campaigners have been fighting to save part of Greenfields Recreation Ground for four years

A row has been brewing for several years over the sale of part of Greenfields Recreation Ground in Shrewsbury, which CSE Developments bought to build 15 homes.

Greenfields Community Group has been involved in a four-year battle with Shropshire Council over the sale of recreation ground for housing at the site between Ellesmere Road and the Flaxmill Maltings.

Shrewsbury Town Council has also been criticised for "serious governance failings" in an auditor’s report – for the sale of the plot of land which the Greenfields Community Group insists is designated public open space.

The case has already been subject to Judicial Review in 2019 and heard at the Court of Appeal in 2020.

Greenfields Recreation Ground

The legal significance - concerning the sale of public recreation land - is now due to be heard by the highest court possible, the Supreme Court.

Its final ruling is likely to determine a landmark legal precedent, which will affect future decisions of councils in the UK to dispose of open space and the access of recreation grounds for local communities across the country.

Dr Peter Day, who has been leading the campaign, said it was a "historic and unique opportunity" for the group. Residents are expected to meet soon to discuss fundraising to pay for their legal challenge.

The land was sold to CSE Development in 2017, and the sale and subsequent planning approval sparked outcry among Greenfields residents, 300 of whom joined together to launch a campaign group to fight off the scheme.

The recreation ground was purchased in two parts by the Council of the Borough of Shrewsbury for £1,000 in 1926 and held in trust for community use. It was transferred to the town council as part of a local government reorganisation in 2010.

Part of the ground was turned into allotments during the Second World War, and the site later became a tree nursery.