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Covenant could be costly


Councillors have been warned that a request to lift a covenant to allow former allotments to become a sports and leisure area could be both difficult and costly.

Newark Town Council wants to transform the old allotments, off Strawberry Hall Lane, near Yorke Drive, and possibly provide an all-weather sports pitch.

The site is owned by the town council and was declared surplus three years ago.

There was a proposal to investigate its use for housing but this was rejected.

A covenant states the land should be used as allotments.

At the council’s environment and leisure committee the clerk, Mr Jim Hanrahan, said the council’s solicitors said the covenant would remain binding.

To use the land for anything other than allotments would need approval from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

Mr Hanrahan believed planning permission was not required to change the use, but they would have to apply to the district council for the relaxation of the covenant, and to permit an alternative use for recreation.

The district council imposed the restriction when it sold the land to the town council.

Mr Hanrahan expected the district would require the town at least to meet any legal costs, and a formal deed would have to be drawn up.

There could be financial considerations.

Mr Bryan Richardson said if they wanted it to remain an open field for leisure purposes, the cost should be minimal.

Mrs Gill Dawn, a councillor for the Bridge Ward, said: “This piece of land is tucked away and forgotten. Unfortunately some officers may see a potentially big capital receipt for housing land when they see what is happening, but I hope that does not happen.

“The work done there is astonishing and the pavilion down there will hopefully be transferred to us.

“It has a rosy future and could be another Sherwood Avenue park.”

Mr Hanrahan said a report would be brought to a future meeting once legal issues had been clarified.

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