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Residents win battle over alleged “land grabbing”

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PLANNING chiefs at Warrington  have thrown out two applications for permission to extend private gardens onto open land – ownership of which is not known.
The land is off Springfield Avenue, Grappenhall – and the applications led to the formation of a residents’ association to oppose the proposals.
Residents claim the applications – one of which is retrospective and the other part retrospective – amount to “land grabbing.”
In the case of the part retrospective application, they had placed two cars there to prevent the land being enclosed.
Planning officers recommended the retrospective  application, by Ben Higham, of adjoining Windsor Drive, be approved. They claimed it did not have a detrimental visual impact on the street scene in Springfield Avenue.
But they recommended the other proposal, by Rob Kinder, also of Windsor Drive be refused because it would result in a “prominent and incongruous fence line.”
But members of the borough council’s development management committee decided to refuse both applications.
They heard there had been a total of 21 objections to the two applications – although there was support from three neighbours who believed they should be allowed.
The meeting heard claims that the land had been used for community purposes, such as children playing and dog walking, for decades. Benches had been provided for people to sit on and residents had been cutting the grass themselves since 2011, when the council had ceased grass cutting in the area
It was argued that incorporating the land into the adjoining garden would stop the dumping or parking of cars. But the objectors said cars were not being dumped – they were being placed there  by residents to stop the land being enclosed.
The meeting was told it had not been possible to establishment ownership of the land – but this was not a planning issue.

A bench on the disputed land

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