Shropshire Star

New bid to give added layer of protection to Greenfields and other playing fields in Shrewsbury

Community groups are proposing an added layer of protection for playing fields in Shrewsbury to prevent a Greenfields-type issue ever arising again.

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An aerial view of Greenfields Recreation Ground in Shrewsbury. Photo: Google

In a landmark ruling last month, Supreme Court judges issued a unanimous ruling which quashed planning permission that had been granted by Shropshire Council to build 15 homes on land at Greenfields.

The land had been erroneously sold to the developer by Shrewsbury Town Council, which is under pressure to get the land back into public ownership.

Now the Shropshire Playing Fields Association and the Greenfields Community Group have teamed up to propose that the land - and other plots of land around the county town - be covered by a Deed of Dedication.

David Kilby, secretary of Shropshire Playing Fields Association, says it would mean that all sides - community and councils - would come together to agree that land is protected.

Mr Kilby has contacted Shrewsbury Town Council to recommend working with Fields in Trust - which used to be known as the National Playing Fields Association. The national organisation has responded positively to the move.

He said: "A Deed of Dedication is an added protection on the use of a piece of land and a legal agreement between Fields in Trust (FIT) and a space's landowner, in this case the council, that they will retain it for use as a green space in perpetuity."

Such a move in the case of Greenfields would also need the developer who owns the land to agree.

Mr Kilby said: "I appreciate there are several steps required in the process before this option becomes viable, but would I believe be a worthwhile objective to be working towards even at this stage.

"SPFA would be happy to assist and play our part in bringing this case to a successful conclusion for the local community and future generations as it moves forward.

"A town-wide Deed of Dedication for parks and recreation grounds would go some way to showing a lead on the future of our public spaces."

Dr Peter Day who led the Greenfields Community Group to a landmark Supreme Court victory said they want to move quickly to secure the future of the whole of Greenfields Recreation Ground for future generations to use.

"The community feel that a Deed of Dedication is a fitting tribute to all their efforts, fund raising, meeting and legal challenges and this deed preserves this public asset quite rightly for the public which both Shrewsbury Town Council; and Shropshire Council seem to have lost sight of."

Fields in Trust has told Mr Kilby it would be delighted to protect Greenfields Recreation Ground with the town council. It says such a move would restore community trust by ensuring that the space will never again be threatened.

A spokesman for Shrewsbury Town Council said an update to the Greenfields situation is expected to be given at Monday's meeting.

Shropshire Council has also been asked for comment.