Residents were shocked to hear from the chairman in the parish meeting of September 8 that Steyning Parish Council intend to seek legal advice in an effort to overturn the village green status of the Memorial Playing Field (MPF) because they fear that it will place too many restrictions on the activities in the field and will prevent them building a skatepark.
The Friends of the Memorial Playing Field (FoMPF) applied to register the top half of the MPF as a village green. This status was granted by West Sussex County Council in 2013, which means that the whole of the field is now a village green, the rest of the MPF having had village green status since 1974, registered by the parish council at the time.
In a scaremongering attack, the parish council stated that existing sporting clubhouses would not be able to be repaired and no bouncy castles could be used on the field because it was a village green. The fact that for 40 years, the MPF has functioned perfectly well as a village green seemed to count for nothing in their rush to remove the protection it affords. The chairman stated that they did not know of the village green status and now because they do, he implied that all sorts of draconian measures would need to be set in place.
Why are Steyning Parish Council intending to spend taxpayers’ money refuting the professionalism of West Sussex County Council who granted the village green status?
Will the MPF be ‘safe in their hands’ if this status is removed? The chairman promised a covenant stating their intention, but covenants have no legal standing in planning matters and can be disregarded, so that is no protection.
Most other parish councils in England would be supporting the endeavour by concerned residents to preserve a special open space at the foot of the Downs and next to a national park, not trying to remove its protection.
Friends of the Memorial Playing Field
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