Recreation ground will be placed in trust by council

AN EXTRA layer of protection is being put in place for Sleaford’s showpiece park.

Town councillors were acting with the possibility of a future compulsory purchase order in mind when they agreed to allow the Boston Road recreation ground to become a Queen Elizabeth II Field In Trust at their meeting last Wednesday.

Fields In Trust is a national charity which, in 17 years, has protected 1,281 sites covering just under 9,000 acres from development. The original scheme was founded by King George V after the last London Olympics and the Duke of Cambridge is now its patron and wants to create a legacy of 2,012 protected green spaces, woodland, play areas and cycle trails by the end of this year. There is the chance to secure grant aid for projects from Sport England and other sports bodies for small or larger projects.

The vote is in view of a possible CPO being used to secure land for the proposed link road from Mareham Lane to Boston Road, accessing the new Tesco and Maltings developments. A deed will be registered with the Land Registry and a plaque erected.

Under the agreement the whole of the field will be placed in trust as priority, while other sites could follow. It would be a non-charitable trust and would be protected in perpetuity. The Fields in Trust organisation has a team of lawyers who are available to fight, for free, if requested any attempts to change part of the site away from its designated recreational purpose.

Although the new covenant cannot ultimately block a CPO, councillors have been assured that the publicity surrounding the scheme backed by Royalty would add weight against any organisation thinking of trying to take them on. Also the existing covenant on the land would simply add double layers of protection.

The council would still be free to add recreational developments such as a pavilion. Coun Keith Dolby added: “It adds another layer of covenant, but this is totally under the control of the Town Council and the people of Sleaford. If a CPO did become an reality their solicitors would fight for the maximum compensation for the Town Council. There is no reason why it should not be used the way it has been for the last 100 years.”

Coun Ken Fernandes commented: “This is the only green land of significant size in the middle of Sleaford and we should protect it.”