Donkey Field goes green

Tom Brown in the Donkey Field which is now an offical village green''w123613
Tom Brown in the Donkey Field which is now an offical village green''w123613

A PROMINENT piece of the Whitby landscape will be preserved for local residents following a successful campaign by a former town councillor.

Tom Brown, of Boulby Bank Top, Church Street, has spearheaded a movement to achieve village green status for the Donkey Field, also known as Jacky Field, and last month his application was granted. Mr Brown said: “I can’t imagine Whitby without it. It’s a central part of the town and we don’t want to see Whitby’s first million-pound houses up there. You only have to go anywhere in Whitby and look up to the Abbey and that’s what you see. What you see is what has been seen for a thousand years.”

Mr Brown worked with fellow residents to gain village green status after growing fearful that developments may soon be proposed for the wildflower meadow.

“They had already put the spade in it and construction works were going on,” he said. “That had to be stopped.”

To be elgiible for village green status an area of land must have been used by residents for over 20 years as a place for lawful recreation such as dog walking, picnicking, or picking blackberries, all of which take place on the Donkey Field.

Plans to apply for village green status were accelerated in March last year when Yorkshire Water contractor Peter Duffy Ltd dug up a large patch of the field to link holiday cottages with the sewage system.

At a North Yorkshire county Council Regulatory Function’s Sub-Committee meeting last month, councillors resolved to accept the proposal to give the Donkey Field village green status.

Guidleines about the provision of ‘Local Green Spaces’ came into force last year within the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework. Once this status is attained it rules out development “other than in very special circumstances”. However, the Open Spaces Society has warned this option would only give open spaces the same protection as Green Belt - and that is no guarantee against development.

Mr Brown resigned from Whitby Town Council earlier this year, quoting a growing frustrated with a perceived lack of progress with important matters.

He has continued to campaign for local issues and said: “I’m more use outside the council than in it. Whitby Town Council is like Scarborough rock, it’s got Scarborough written right through it.”

Mr Brown now intends to turn his attention to other projects, such as claiming the harbour back for the town.