By Marilyn Barber | firstname.lastname@example.org
Ringwood Town Council is to renew its efforts to purchase land at Forestside Gardens.
The town clerk told members at the last meeting that the land was once again being offered for sale by public auction. The council was outbid on the last occasion.
Cllr Jeremy Heron, who had previously supported the purchase, said that such land would ordinarily have been allocated as public open space but, at the time the estate was built, was left in private ownership to avoid maintenance costs. He added that this was an opportunity to protect the land for future generations by bringing it into public ownership.
Cllr Philip Day had previously voted against the purchase as he felt that the prospect of anyone obtaining permission to develop the land was highly unlikely. He said he considered the valuation should reflect its use as open space, as not a development plot.
Cllr Peter Kelleher, who has lived at Forestside Gardens since 1999, said there had been several attempts over the years by developers to build on the site. He said the council was now in a position to support the community to correct a wrong and give residents peace of mind, rather than having the threat of development hanging over them.
At the meeting, three residents of Forestside Gardens urged the council to buy the land so that it could be retained as a public amenity in perpetuity and to give residents peace of mind.
They said that residents had come together more than 10 years ago to fund the maintenance of the land. They had also planted trees, which were now protected by a Tree Preservation Order. They added that many residents enjoy the use of this green lung which is a safe place for children to play.
The meeting resolved to bid at the virtual auction of the land which is to be held on 19 May.
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