December 8 2013 Latest news:
Dominic Bareham, senior reporter
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Further investigations will be carried out before a decision is made on the best way to protect a town’s recreation space, which has been at the centre of a long-running battle over plans to sell it for development.
A Wymondham Town Council working group had been considering applying for Queen Elizabeth II field status for Kings Head Meadow following a public consultation which revealed 77pc of respondents favoured the status to prevent development on the meadow, which is home to Wymondham Town FC.
However, concerns were raised at a council meeting on Tuesday the status would not necessarily prevent the sale of the meadow, which has a children’s play area, in the future and a decision was made to investigate other options, such as creating a local trust to oversee the site.
The status was set up to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and so far more than 1,300 outdoor spaces have been nominated for protection.
Councillor Andy Gardiner, the former chairman of the Wymondham Asks Why (WAW) action group, which campaigned against council plans to sell the meadow for an Asda store, said the QEII status would still leave open the possibility the meadow could be sold if the developer could provide an alternative green space within the town for a recreation area.
He added: “We don’t want to hamstring future generations who will need a recreation space and I think we would be acting irresponsibly if we agreed to the QEII status.
“It certainly opened my eyes tonight that Kings Head Meadow has got to be secured, but it has got to be secured in trust and with the people of Wymondham still having ownership of that space.”
And councillor Alison Taylor, who sits on the working group with councillors Dianne Fernee and John Turner, said more time was needed to make the right decision for the meadow’s future.
She added: “There are questions that need to be answered in terms of putting the meadow into a local trust as well and I think people would like to see some kind of conclusion drawn and at a council level we need to investigate further.”
Plans to hire law firm NP Law to conduct a review of the process that led to the council proposal to sell the land to Asda were also dropped after Mr Gardiner suggested the £2,400 that would need to be spent on the review could be invested better elsewhere.
He said: “What is the point in spending £2,400? It is just going to run for month after month after month. The money should be spent on something better than something that has been dead for eight months.”
For the last year, the meadow has been at the centre of a battle between the town council and the WAW action group over plans to sell the land to Asda, which were subsequently dropped in February.
In August, a proposal by town councillor Colin Foulger for a feasibility study to look into building new town council offices was also dropped following a heated public meeting.