Lancaster Moorside fields will remain village green

The future of a Lancaster village green has been secured after its registration was upheld in court.

Tuesday, 24th April 2018, 2:41 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th April 2018, 2:46 pm

Moorside Fields in Lancaster has been at the centre of a legal battle for many years.

The 13-hectare land adjacent to Moorside Primary School is owned by Lancashire County Council – who have failed in their legal bid to prevent the land from being registered as a village green.

“We are delighted with the Moorside Fields decision and that our beautiful land remains free for us to enjoy,” said Janine Bebbington, who applied to have the fields registered under the Commons Act 2006.

“We are very grateful to our legal team who have worked at a reduced rate to enable our community group to remain part of the legal process and to the Open Spaces Society, not only for their financial support but for also being there to listen, and to offer encouragement and advice along the way.”

Janine, a member of the Moorside Fields Community Group, entered an application for registration in 2016.

Moorside Fields Community Group was established in 2008 by residents of South Lancaster.

The group aims “to enhance the area known as Moorside Fields for the continued enjoyment of everyone.”

Giving the lead judgment in the case, Lord Justice Lindblom ruled that there was no blanket exemption to prevent land held by public bodies from being registered as a green and that the use for which the land was held did not conflict with the recreational use as a green.

However speaking after the case one parent, who did not wish to be named, said: “As a parent of a child at Moorside I am deeply disappointed that the registration has been upheld.

“This application for a town green was never a problem in itself but the inclusion of the school field was plain vindictive and a great loss to city children who no longer have a safe enclosed place to take part in sports.

“Playing fields are important to keep children fit and stave off obesity. The response from the town green group that this will not affect the children is frankly out of touch.

“Children would not be safeguarded sufficiently when using a town green for lessons with the general public roaming freely across the land with this being even more of a problem for any child at risk of flight.”

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: “We’ll be looking carefully at our options to see whether an appeal would be appropriate, although this would be at significant expense to the county council.”