Campaign launched to raise £20,000 for legal fees in Shrewsbury land row

A Shrewsbury community aiming to take a four-year row over a patch of land to the Supreme Court has got its fundraising campaign up and running.

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

Greenfields Community Group, is campaigning over the land at the town's Greenfields Recreation Ground which was controversially sold for housing.

It has raised £2,500 of the £20,000 it needs and is ready to ramp up its appeal. The group has had to pay all its legal fees throughout row.

The land was sold by Shrewsbury Town Council to CSE Developments in 2017 so the firm could build 15 homes. The campaign group argued that planning permission granted by Shropshire Council for the homes should have been revoked, after it was proved the land was held in trust for community use. The issue sparked outcry among Greenfields residents, 300 of whom joined together to launch a campaign group to fight off the scheme.

Greenfields Recreation Ground

A group spokesman said on its GoFundMe page: "The sale of public land and public assets is a national issue, and many communities are losing prized and valuable open space for private development. Public land was never intended to be sold.

"Greenfields Community Group has been involved in a four-year legal battle with Shropshire Council and Shrewsbury Town Council over the disposal of part of its recreation land for housing. The case has now been granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court for a hearing in December 2022. We hope that the result will change the law regarding the sale of public land and assets by councils.

"Our case is an historic and unique opportunity to halt the development of public open space, recreation grounds and parks, land held in trust by a local authority (the custodians of those spaces), for any other use than that intended. The health and well-being of local communities are dependent on access to recreation and open space.

"Greenfields Community Group now needs to raise substantially more funds - alongside our local fundraising - to continue our battle to retain this public open space for the community. We are a small, dedicated group and have relied solely on donations and public fundraising to pay for our lengthy legal challenge.

"Our case is significant and may create a legal precedent in establishing whether a local authority has the right to develop land that has been held in trust as public open space for community use."

The group is planning to hold several fundraisers to try to swell the coffers, which may include music nights, fun runs and table top sales.

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