Developer's U-turn saves community park

PUBLISHED: 07:48 05 February 2009 | UPDATED: 13:54 06 May 2010

A POPULAR community park which was under threat of development has been saved for perpetuity. A year ago Colney Heath Parish Council, which had leased Gloucester Park between Drakes Drive and Camp Road, St Albans, from the Department of Health heard it h

A POPULAR community park which was under threat of development has been saved for perpetuity.

A year ago Colney Heath Parish Council, which had leased Gloucester Park between Drakes Drive and Camp Road, St Albans, from the Department of Health heard it had been sold to developers.

They feared that the green space, which is popular with children and dog walkers and was once part of the Hill End Hospital site, had been lost forever.

But a year on, the developers have offered it to the parish council for the exact same sum it was willing to pay in the first place to keep it in public use - £30,000.

By buying it, the parish council can ensure that it remains as green space and never again face the threat of being built on.

The parish council has been leasing the 1.2 acre park for more than half-a-century. But after the lease came up for renewal in 1999, its subsequent attempts to buy it came up against a brick wall.

In November 2007, the parish council learnt that the land had been put out for tender by the Department of Health and in an effort to retain it, put in a bid for £30,000.

That sum was rejected and they later heard it had been snapped up by a developer for an undisclosed sum.

Cllr Chris Brazier, who sits on both the parish and district council, said the site was never suitable for development and he understood the developers had failed to get access to it.

He added: "So the developer has now come back to us and said you can buy the playing field for £30,000. This will stop it being developed because we will retain it as green space which can never be built on.

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