London calling for Helredale

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THE long running battle to save Helredale playing fields from being turned into a housing estate goes before the Royal Courts of Justice in London next week.

A small group of residents who got together five years ago to form Helredale Neighbourhood Council (HNC) intend to see their battle through to the “bitter end”.

The court case, which will be put before three judges, will determine whether there is still chance the area can be classed as a village green and therefore protected from development.

Already the case has been through a public inquiry which ruled against the residents’ application, appeals and both written and oral judicial reviews before being granted leave to appeal against the decision not to register the field as a village green.

Viv Wright, secretary of HNC said Scarborough Borough Council, which previously owned the land before passing it to Yorkshire Coast Homes who were set to build over 70 houses on it have initiated the case being brought forward.

She said the hearing wasn’t planned to take place prior to October but if work on the housing project didn’t start in September then funding for it could be lost.”

The result will set case law for future village green applications and because of the importance of it HNC has hired a QC who has featured in many high profile cases and specialises in planning, environment, administrative, highway, town and village green matters.

Mark Nicholson, chairman of HNC will attend the hearing set to take place in the capital on Wednesday and Thursday.

He said: “We have fought long and hard for more than five years to save our playing field, and we feel that in view of the recent publicity on the success of the Olympics, and the government’s backing to encourage youngsters to take up sports, we are more than justified in continuing this battle to the bitter end.

“While we are sympathetic to the need for social housing we know SBC has brownfield sites in the town which can be used for this purpose. I am looking forward to the hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice, this is a landmark occasion for such a small group of people and I hope that we are successful.”