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Land off Cedar Avenue, Newark, looks like it will be safeguarded as public open space instead of sold for housing

Land shrouded in controversy looks as though it will be safeguarded as public open space, instead of being sold for housing.

The future of the land off Cedar Avenue, Newark, was discussed at a meeting of the Trustee Board of the Gilstrap and William Edward Knight Charities, which is made up of Newark and Sherwood district councillors.

David Lloyd, a non-voting trustee, said the land was allocated for housing and the only party to come forward was a social housing company, which had walked away after three attempts to build on the land.

Cedar Avenue playing field. Credit: Google Maps
Cedar Avenue playing field. Credit: Google Maps

Mr Lloyd said because housing didn’t seem to be viable, why not take it out of trustees’ hands and maintain it as open space? It could be protected from development by a covenant.

“In my view, the trust isn’t there to operate open space,” he said.

“The land is causing a revenue cost to the trust. Realising the financial strain, the trust may resolve to approach the district and town councils to acquire the land as open space to be protected.

“I say town and district councils specifically because once you decide it’s open space, it won’t yield a return. Therefore, very few people will come forward.

“In respect of the community group that has come forward, they would have to raise money to purchase it and to sustain the revenue costs going forward, which is quite a burden.”

Mr Lloyd said his preference was for the town council to acquire the land, as providing community space was within the nature of its role.

“I know there are community groups with an interest but if either council acquires it, it doesn’t stop them from having an interest. It doesn’t stop them coming forward,” he said.

“It might mean they can organise as a friends group instead and not have to raise £45,000 and revenue costs, but support in shaping what it looks like.

“If it’s in either council’s control, that land would at least be to the same standard as all the other community spaces in Newark town.”

Mr Lloyd moved his proposal, which was seconded by fellow non-voting trustee Gill Dawn.

She said: “It’s the most sensible sort of conclusion that would have been nice if we could have done this a long time ago.

“David is right, if we followed his suggestions it would be a win-win for everybody.

“I would like to formally suggest with the appropriate legal team that we approach the councils and liaise with the community group — that’s a sterling suggestion.”

Laurence Goff, voting trustee, said: “This has been dragging on for years now. Sir William Gilstrap gave it (the land) as open space and I would like to see what the community group would like to do with it.”

The proposal was carried four to one.

The trustee board will meet again once the town and district councils have been consulted on possibly buying the land for open space use.

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