Saturday, 19 August 2017

Bid to buy plot is blocked

PEPPARD Parish Council has rejected an offer from a resident to buy part of Carlings Orchard.

PEPPARD Parish Council has rejected an offer from a resident to buy part of Carlings Orchard.

The man, who did not provide his name, made the informal offer to the council at a meeting this month to buy a small triangular plot in the south-west boundary of the land, which borders his home.

He was hoping to use the land, which he claimed was overgrown and “neglected”, to extend his driveway and create space for a garage to be built but councillors feared selling public land would set a negative precedent.

The man said there was no sign the land was being used by anyone, adding: “It’s a not of significant value in comparison to running the whole of Carlings Orchard.

“It’s a piece of land that, frankly, no one uses.”

Council chairman David Hammond said his colleagues had to consider the wider implications of granting a request. He said: “There’s a very basic principle here. It’s a proposal for a piece of land to move from the public realm to the private realm.

“I think we would get ourselves into all sorts of difficulties if we go down this route.”

Councillor Fiona Berry said the results of the last community survey indicated that villagers wanted to retain its land. “People wanted Carlings Orchard even if it’s not in use,” she said.

Councillor Terry Ryan said he would not wish to disturb a natural habitat.

Councillor Hadley Cooper said: “It sets a dangerous precedent. Unless the rest of the community wants to sell it, I can’t see how we have the right to.”

Councillor Leeanne Flett said the money raised could boost the public purse. She said: “There’s a considerable expense to maintain it and the money could be put into some sort of fund which would then help fund the orchard.”

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