Cox’s Park friends group calls for public support at inquiry ruling on town green application
- Credit: Su Anderson
A public inquiry is opening on Monday (June 1) in Hadleigh to decide the future of a popular park.
And local residents are being asked to attend to show their support for the group trying to keep it open in its entirety.
Land behind East House in George Street, officially known as East House Meadow, is the subject of a bid to have it listed as a town green.
Locally called Cox’s Park the open space at the centre of the town backs onto St Mary’s Primary School.
In the past East House owner Babergh District Council has attempted to build homes on the land – but dropped the plans after receiving dozens of objections.
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Keen to ensure the park is preserved for the public a group of residents applied to have it registered as a town green.
However Babergh objected to the application, hence the reason for a public inquiry.
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The application was registered by Gavin Talbot, a member of the Friends of Cox’s Park group.
“We have to prove certain conditions about how the park has been used,” he said.
“Since 2013 (when the application was first started) there have been some changes which make it harder to register town greens.
“It might not be as easy for us now but that is what this public inquiry is all about.”
While previous development plans for Cox’s Park have only related to part of the land the group believes it should be kept whole.
In trying to sell East House BDC has previously said a portion of neighbouring land would need to be included in the deal to make it viable for redevelopment.
The application for town green status was made to Suffolk County Council which has set up the inquiry which starts at 10am on Monday in Hadleigh Town Hall’s dining room.
Evidence from both sides will be heard by an inspector who may also wish to hear witness evidence, Mr Talbot said.
He encouraged anyone with an interest in seeing the park preserved as it is to attend the meeting, which could run into Tuesday and Wednesday as well.
“This is a big thing the community is passionate about,” Mr Talbot added.
“The public can come and show their support and that will help because it will showcase how well it is supported in the community.”
If the application is not successful Mr Talbot said the friends group was happy to work with BDC to find an alternative solution.
“We’re not there wanting to fight them, we just want a logical solution which works for both parties,” he said.
A spokesman for BDC said: “We await the determination of the public inquiry, which will be conducted by Suffolk County Council.”