Campaigners call for deal to be done to hand back Shrewsbury land wrongfully sold for £550,000

Campaigners who got a council to apologise over a £550,000 land sale have urged leaders and the current owner to hurry up and thrash out a deal to hand the land back to the community.

Greenfields Community Group campaigners
Greenfields Community Group campaigners

Greenfields Community Group want things to start moving more quickly after Shrewsbury Town Council apologised recently for wrongfully selling land on the Greenfields Recreation Ground in 2017.

The town council called an extraordinary meeting at the beginning of June to issue an "unreserved" apology over the sale to CSE Developments for 15 homes to be built. The community group had argued that legally the land should be designated for community use, and a row had been rumbling on for several years. Eventually, the council commissioned Michael Redfern QC to carry out an independent report into the transaction, which found the land was wrongfully sold.

The council vowed to help return the land to the community, and the matter is next due to be officially discussed in public at full council on September 5.

However, the community group is keen for things to start moving.

Dr Peter Day, chair of The Greenfields Community Group said: "All of the people involved in the disposal and purchase of Greenfields Recreation Ground, are local and members of our community. Surely, they want the best for the health and well-being of the residents of Shrewsbury and Greenfields?

"Our community believes that they should all work toward not just the best, but the lawfully correct outcome and return this land to its original status as part of Greenfields Recreation Ground, which has been in existence since 1926."

The matter is also subject of a legal challenge and campaigners earned a date in the Supreme Court in December, which currently still stands.

In the June meeting in which the council apologised, councillors unanimously agreed to the recommendation to accept the findings of the Redfern Report, and in doing so "unreservedly" apologised to the residents of Greenfields, members of the GCG and the wider Shrewsbury community for the council's failure to properly identify the legal status of the land, and for failures to adequately communicate and consult with them.

The error is expected to cost the council hundreds of thousands of pounds. At a recent council meeting, town council leader Alan Mosley said a land swap - i.e offer another patch of council owned land to the developer in exchange for the Greenfields site - is not an option which is currently being pursued.

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