|Ashfield Inquiry Date set
The public inquiry into the village green application for Ashfield Park in Standish will take place in September.
The hearing, which will be open to all members of the public, will take place from Tuesday 1st September to Friday 4th September.
As far back as 2012, when the application was made, the council, as the local registration authority for village green applications, has to put in place arrangements to determine the application. It decided to hold a non-statutory public inquiry to enable all parties to put their views and appointed an independent barrister with previous experience in village green applications to lead the inquiry.
The independent barrister as inspector cannot make the final decision on the application but will make recommendations to Wigan Council, as the local registration authority, on whether to approve or refuse village green status.
It was necessary agreed to defer the inquiry until the law in relation to a key element of the test for making a village green was clarified by the Supreme Court.
That decision came in May 2014 and determined that when members of the public use council owned land designated as open space with the permission of the landowner it cannot be a village green.
Now both the applicant and the council have agreed a date for the hearing to take place.
Wigan Council has maintained its opposition to the village green application throughout and will make representations against the plans at the inquiry.
Deputy Leader of Wigan Council Councillor David Molyneux said: “As residents will know we have on a number of occasions assured them that Ashfield Park is safe and will be for future generations – all without the need for this village green status. This campaign is unnecessary and is costing taxpayers money which could be put to much better use. If village green status is granted it could prevent investment in the park.
“The council is proposing to protect the park against development through a key development plan called the Allocations Plan. Residents in Standish will be able to have their say in a public consultation and the plan could be amended to extend the historic park and garden designation, which currently applies to part of the park, to protect the whole park. The plan will then inform planning decisions up to 2026.
“This would mean Ashfield is protected and can benefit from the £5m investment in community facilities and infrastructure from house builders in Standish.”