St Albans neighbours rally together to stop community green auction

PUBLISHED: 09:42 23 May 2018 | UPDATED: 10:00 23 May 2018

Wynches Farm Drive residents on the green space. Picture: Natalie Henderson

Wynches Farm Drive residents on the green space. Picture: Natalie Henderson

Archant

Neighbours have rallied together to save a community green enjoyed by children and adults alike.

The piece of green by Wynches Farm Drive. Picture: Natalie Henderson The piece of green by Wynches Farm Drive. Picture: Natalie Henderson

On May 31, developers Taylor Wimpey are auctioning off a patch of grass which the residents of Wynches Farm Drive cherish.

Currently, children play on the grass, adults picnic there, and neighbours enjoy the space together.

They are worried if a new developer buys the land, it will be cut off from them and allowed to become a wasteland.

Business woman Natalie Henderson, 45, has lived opposite the green for eight years.

She said: “Our biggest, most immediate concern is that in two weeks, somebody could buy this land and stop us using our precious space.

“It is not a huge space but it’s precious to us. People walk their small dogs on it, kids play on it, kids learn to ride their bikes there, kids learn to walk on it - they are taking their first steps there - and there are some really nice trees.

“Someone was out there having a picnic last night, boys were playing football on it at the end of the day.

The 45-year-old estimates about 80 per cent of the 72 households have at least one child which enjoys the space.

“It’s really disappointing, and part of the fear for us is losing the space because somebody has put a big fence up but then doesn’t maintain the land.”

She said foxes, deer, and birds have also been using the space as a retreat during the night.

The estate’s initial planning application, allowed on appeal in 1991, specified that a play area should be created on that green.

However, during a 2009 planning appeal regarding one three bedroom house, it was deemed the play area was not necessary but that the green was “a key prominent area of landscaping amenity open space”.

A Taylor Wimpey spokesperson said: “The land is owned by Taylor Wimpey and we have maintained it since the neighbouring development was built in the 1990s.

“There is no planning requirement for a play area on the land and it has never been adopted by St Albans district council as public open space. The land has been offered to the council on a number of occasions but an agreement has not been reached.”

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CountryPhile

One of my favourite summer activities as a child was pond-dipping. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a house with a fairly large pond in the garden and so my pond-dipping activities often extended over days and weren’t as much dipping as a thorough exploration of the life in the pond.

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