Friday, 19 April 2013

400 back bid to protect Knowle land

MORE than 400 Knowle villagers have helped a bid to give official protection to three plots of land used by the public.

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They have given evidence to a Knowle Society plan to get town green status for the three parcels of land (see map here).

The land has been used by villagers for activities like children’s play and dog walking, the society said.

The three parcels of land are off the Wychwood Avenue roundabout and two off Knowle Park.

It has submitted villagers’ forms – setting out how they use the land – to Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council. More forms are welcomed, details here.

It hopes they will be registered as village greens, protecting them from further development.

The application will need to show the land have used part of the land for at least 20 years for “lawful purposes” and had a right to do so.

The move has been made possible after the council dropped long-standing plans for a by-pass through Knowle, which was to use the land.

But two property companies own all or part of each parcel, leading to concerns it could be developed for housing. The council owns the rest.

Society chairman Leighton Jones said: “Don't expect a speedy conclusion to the process.

“Having reviewed the submissions the council then has to notify the landowners and allow them time to respond. Any response will have to be assessed.

“It is possible there might be some discussions between the landowners, ourselves and the Council that might avoid a legal battle.

“It is likely that the council will feel it necessary to engage an outside expert to hold a public hearing before it is in a position to make the final decision.

“My best estimate of the time it'll take - 18 months; but don't even count on that. In the meantime please continue to use the land as you have, to show that we mean business.”

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