Council set to turn down village green bid

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CAMPAIGNERS wanting to turn a piece of land into a village green are set to lose their fight.

Residents had applied for land off Tichborne Way in Gosport to be given the special protected status – but it is wanted by Hampshire County Council for access to the route of the controversial £25m Bus Rapid Transit scheme.

A public inquiry took place last July, and planning inspector Vivian Chapman QC recommended the majority of the land, known locally as the Triangle, be given the new status.

But the council has now commissioned a second inspector to look at the site – who has recommended it shouldn’t be protected.

At a meeting, council officers recommended councillors refuse the village green bid.

Janet Lidgey, of The Chine, who made the application, said: ‘I knew this would happen. There was absolutely no way they were going to accept the inspector’s report.

‘It’s so unfair. The council chose the inspector and he has with a track record of siding with councils. The fact we persuaded him shows the strength of our case.’

The council said it decided to call on a new QC to review the case as it wanted clarification on a crucial point of law over the public’s right to use the land.

Officers instructed Morag Ellis QC to look again at the legal right to use the land and she came up with an opposing view to Mr Chapman.

The report reads: ‘Hampshire County Council holds Mr Chapman QC in particularly high regard and acknowledges the thought and consideration he has put in to preparing his report, and coming to the conclusions he has reached.

‘However, in this case officers find the advice of Ms Ellis QC more persuasive in its analysis of the key point at issue.’

If the village green bid is turned down campaigners have the option of appealing to the High Court.

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