Villagers launch bid to buy land in Bolton-le-Sands to protect it from development

Villagers in Bolton-le-Sands have launched a bid to buy a parcel of grazing land that has been part of the view from Rydal Road since the 1960s.

Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 12:30 pm
The parcel of land overlooked by houses on Rydal Road in Bolton-le-Sands is to be sold, villagers have learned. Picture from Google Street View.

They have learned that the land near Rydal Road is to be sold without any local consultation.

Councillor John Wild who represents Bolton-le-Sands and Slyne, said: “The land, which originally was owned by the Church of England, has been operated as a small holding for many years with livestock production and hay making being the actives witnessed by the locals for decades.

“So why the fuss? Well residents in Bolton-le-Sands well remember the developments which have impacted the village even though sites were supposed to be protected. Take the example of the Swallow Close development at the end of Pasture Lane.

“This was agricultural land with rich hedgerows, ancient trees and was protected as greenbelt. This did not stop the march of developers.

“Indeed, in 1960 there were 420 houses in the village, eight working farms and a plethora of small businesses.

“At the last but one census there were circa 2700 houses, but where are the facilities to cater for this growth, where are the increasing public service funding, where are the youth facilities, where is the increase in wildlife protection?

“Having been out and about talking to people about this development, we are getting responses which range from shock to utter disbelief.

“Most sensible people do not want the devastation, noise, dust and heavy lorries pounding down our country lanes which has accompanied all of the recent expansions.

“Seeing the potential difficulties ahead for residents the only way to absolutely prevent further house building on this land is for the parcel to be bought into protective ownership.

“A group of villagers are working very hard to raise awareness about the impending crisis against a very tight deadline.

“They need to raise circa £70,000 to have any chance of success at tender and this has to be achieved by June 4.

“Any small amount which you may be able to pledge would be welcomed.”

Vince Hart, of Bolton-le-Sands, said: “Every little tiny piece of land within the village boundary has been built on. This piece of land has come up for sale right on the boundary of the village. There are a group of us that feel the only way of preventing this happening is to buy the land into protective ownership.

“This land sale has brought everything to a head. Along with Councillor John Wild and myself, there are about 100 villagers who support the project of buying the land for protective ownership.

“The land is 1.2 hectares, you can get a lot of houses on there if you really pushed it.

“These retirement bungalows were built on Rydal Road in the 1960s and you have a very pleasant environment looking out over the fields and the sea and so forth. “If you get housing there it will transform it and people will enter suburbia.

“We have to put together a sealed bid and tender for the land to Carter Jonas land agents by Friday.

“We are hoping that someone will buy it in the interim. There is a farmer who is willing to continue to farm it and a conservation group are interested in getting involved planting one or two species of native trees. We can develop the meadow into a wildlife meadow , and in spring you would be getting all the different historical plants that would have been found in the fields long ago. There is a lot the village could offer.

“The land is for people in the village, not for someone to just buy it and sit on it and then it just goes for housing in ten years time.

“We should have a sustainable development plan for the village that should benefit the village and living beyond housing, that is our vision."

Contact Councillor John Wild by email [email protected] or tel: 07792 216454

Contact Vince Hart by email [email protected] or tel: 08454588117.