Barrister's bid to save popular park

THE barrister behind a campaign to save a valuable area of green space in a historic town has visited the site - just three weeks before its fate is decided.

Dave Gooderham

THE barrister behind a campaign to save a valuable area of green space in a historic town has visited the site - just three weeks before its fate is decided.

Tom Cross joined campaigners at People's Park in Sudbury yesterdayto hear first hand why it should not be sold by health bosses for housing.

Its owners, the West Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust, want to sell the land for an estimated £1.9million to help ease its historic debt.


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But the controversial plans have provoked outrage among residents and community leaders - prompting a four-day independent inquiry later this month.

Mr Cross said: “I am delighted to be helping the People's Park Preservation Association in its quest to have this land registered as a town or village green.

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“It certainly seems that there are a number of issues which need to be explored at the inquiry and I look forward to doing my best for them.

“The enthusiasm shown by the campaigners probably testifies how strongly they feel about it and I am sure this is an issue that is reflected by widespread feeling in the town.”

Mr Cross, an independent self-employed barrister based in London, will lead the legal challenge at the inquiry and held a private meeting with campaigners after visiting the site, officially known as Harps Close Meadow.

Derek Wells, association chairman, said: “We are delighted to have Tom on board and we wanted him to see the site and listen to our concerns.

“If you look at a map of Sudbury, the whole space between the town centre and Chilton and beyond is built up. So it is so important to keep this as an area of green space.”

Mr Wells admitted there would have been no need for a campaign if the trust had used the site to build a new town hospital as originally muted.

But the bid to sell it for housing has led to a wave of complaints and now a public inquiry will be held in Victoria Hall, Sudbury, starting on September 22.

A spokesman for the hospital trust said: “We are aware of the views expressed by the association about the future of the land owned by the trust and we are looking to the public inquiry to help clarify things. It would be inappropriate to comment further until the inquiry is held.”

To raise further funds for the campaign, the preservation association will be holding a coffee morning with cake stall and raffle at the Town Hall on September 6 from 10am until noon.

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