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Anxious wait for result of village green inquiry
Campaigners face an anxious wait of up to six weeks to discover if land earmarked for 170 new homes will be granted a special status preventing construction.
A week-long public inquiry into a Village Green application for land at Derry Hill in Menston drew to a close on Friday, with legal representatives from both sides putting forward their final arguments.
Now inspector David Manley QC, who has led the inquiry, will produce a report to either recommend the land be granted the status or not.
And he told people in Kirklands Community Centre in the village, where the inquiry was held throughout the week, the decision will be ready in the next six weeks.
Earlier this year, permission was granted, subject to further agreements, for Barratt Homes to build houses on the four fields that make up the site, despite massive objections from people living in the village.
Last year, Dr Steve Ellams, a member of the Menston Action Group, submitted his application for the Village Green status, which, if granted, would probably stop building on the land.
The activities were all sporadic, trivialCharles George QC
Frances Lawley, representing Dr Ellams, told the inquiry his application met all the statutory tests and the 20 witnesses who had given evidence proved the area should be given village green status.
In order for this to be granted, an applicant has to prove a site has been used by residents for at least two decades for recreation, sports and games, and Miss Lawley said this had happened.
She added: “There’s been a wealth of evidence and a number of people have come to the inquiry to give credible evidence on the use of the land.
“I invite you to find the use has been on all four fields and the application succeeds.”
The application is being objected to by Barratt Homes, Adrian Heather and Richard Horner, who own three fields on the site, and Simon Mason, who owns the fourth.
Their representative, Charles George QC, told the inquiry the evidence was not sufficient for the village green status to be granted.
He said: “There is not a single photo showing local inhabitants engaging in any form of recreational on the land in the 20-year period.
Mr George also said the evidence did not represent use of the land by all the people in Menston.
“The activities all were sporadic, trivial or all by householders rather than the community,” he added.
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