To consider a report from the Acting Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure
A report was considered from the Acting Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure regarding NL0064:- Application for registration of land at Scaws Drive Field, Penrith as a new town or village green. An application had been received from Mrs Belinda Fox, Mrs Catherine Fenton and Mr Christopher Castle to register an area of land at Scaws Drive, Penrith as a new town or village green. The application was made under section 15(2) of the Commons Act 2006.
The Commons Officer introduced the report, showing a map of Penrith and the location of the site and photographs of the land at Scaws Drive. He presented the legal criteria and legislation that the recommendation was based on. He recommended that the application be accepted by the Committee.
Mrs Fox, the applicant made the following statement:
You will have before you much documentation pertaining to our application leading up to our last representation to the Commons Registration in November 2017, so I will not repeat this information.
My hope today is to bring the Committee fully up to date with important developments that have and are being put in place since then.
At the beginning of this year Penrith Town Council undertook a consultation of the residents of Eden based on the draft Neighbourhood Development Plan. The summary of responses will be utilised to form part of Eden’s Development Plan and will be used by the District Council and Town Council to help determine planning applications. Within this, Scaws Drive Field was again suggested to be identified as ‘Protected Green Space’ due to being important to both wellbeing and the local community and to be protected from inappropriate development. Other areas on the list include churchyards, allotments, nature reserves, cemetery and woods meaning that Scaws Drive Field is one of the few that is and can continue to be used for unprescribed recreational outdoor use such as dog exercising, ball games and picnics. It has long been used by the local community in this way and the strength of opinion to keeping this field protected in perpetuity was recognised during the consultation.
I have been informed from the Town Council Administrator that Eden District Council have not objected to the inclusion of Scaws Drive Field into the Draft Neighbourhood Plan therefore it remains in the Plan and will hopefully be ratified in 2020. Under Eden District Council's recently adopted Local Plan, its principal planning document, the field is designated as Public Open Space and is protected from development under policy COM2, Protection of Open Space, Sport, Leisure and Recreation Facilities.
However as this is definitely not a certainty, as local residents we are keen to continue with this application for Town Green status to afford this valuable space the protection it deserves for the wide community that loves to use it on a daily basis. As there are large swathes of housing development continuing to be built all around Penrith, protecting this valuable recreation space has become even more relevant as it will ultimately become an area which many more new local residents will want to utilise.
Additional to the wishes of the local residents, we have been given wholehearted backing from Cllr. Patricia Bell, County Councillor, Cllr John Lynch and Cllr. Mike Eyles EDC Ward Member and James Fellows, Penrith Town Councillor.
Following member questions, the Commons Officer informed the Committee that Eden District Council was the landowner, clarified that the application related to NL0064 and explained that Eden District Council had not provided oral representations.
In supporting the application, the adjoining division member drew comparisons of the application with an application considered at a previous meeting which had been rejected. The Commons Officer explained the differences between the applications.
Mr McGuckin was not initially minded to support the application, however he noted that as Eden District Council the landowner had not objected, he would abstain from the vote as he was unsure of the ‘as of right’ aspect of the application.
A short discussion took place on the signage on the land; it was confirmed that it was currently blank.
It was moved by Mrs Carrick and seconded by Mr Fisher that the recommendation as set out in the report be agreed. Following a vote, with 14 members in favour of the motion, 0 against and Mr McGuckin abstaining, it was
RESOLVED that, the Committee accepts the application, on the grounds that the statutory criteria contained at section 15(2) of the Commons Act 2006 has been satisfied.