Village green status inquiry set to begin

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- Credit: Archant

A PUBLIC inquiry will begin on Monday to determine whether a field used by generations of families in Easton-in-Gordano can be classified as a village green.

A group of residents applied to North Somerset Council in October in the hope of gaining the status for an area of land known locally as Prior’s Field which sits to the south east of the village backing on to properties in Cross Lanes and Rectory Road.

For decades it has been used by walkers as well as children wishing to play outdoors. However, over recent years it has become neglected and overgrown, making the footpaths which cross it inaccessible.

By giving it village green status, members of the Prior’s Field Working Group hope this will allow them to tidy it up and return it to a community space.

In February, at a meeting of North Somerset Council’s planning and regulatory committee, it was decided a public inquiry should be held to determine if the status should be awarded after the field’s owner, John Prior, objected to the application.

This inquiry will be held at St George’s Church Hall in Priory Road from Monday to September 10, starting at 10am.

Former councillor and one of the working group founders, Nan Kirsen said: “We have managed to prove that there has been continuous use for the past 80 years on that field.

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“Until we applied for this people tended to think it was beautifully grazed land, which is not the case.

“As I understand it Mr Prior inherited it in 1999 and, apart from a few times when it has been grazed, it has been left to go to rack and ruin. It is impossible to use the footpaths which cross it.

“The ownership would stay with him and we would be quite happy to work with him.

“It has been heavily used and we have had more than 100 people sign to say so. It was my son’s playing field when he was young, he and his friends used to spend all their time there.

“With the pressure on North Somerset to build more houses we also need a quality of living. If we have got nowhere for children to throw a ball, being shut in a concrete jungle, it would be awful.”