SU1992 : Village Green, St Michael's Avenue, Highworth, Swindon

taken 8 years ago, near to Highworth, Swindon, Great Britain

Village Green, St Michael's Avenue, Highworth, Swindon
Village Green, St Michael's Avenue, Highworth, Swindon
This is a fairly routine image of a what might appear to be a pleasant but unremarkable area of public open space. However, there is more, much more to it than that. The tale begins in the late 1960s when the area of land west of the A361 in Highworth became subject to a planning permission to develop the land as a housing estate. In due course construction commenced and the area known locally as 'Windrush' came into existence. At some point in the 1970s the developers ceased trading. Nothing unusual in that except that, in this case, it happened before all the normal post-development loose ends such as adoption of roads, sewers and public open spaces had been tied up. The effect was that the areas of de facto 'public open space' i.e. areas of land not clearly associated with buildings, were, apparently, owned by an entity that no longer existed. This oddity notwithstanding the local authority started and continued to maintain the land by cutting the grass and other landscaping-type tasks. It isn't clear exactly when what happened next took place (it was post-December 2007 if Google Earth is to be believed) but it seems a collective decision was taken by some residents in houses in Barra Close that backed onto the space to assume possession of part of the land. This was accomplished by engaging a fencing contractor to build a fence around the part of the land immediately behind their houses. From a local resident whom I spoke to I gather that the fencing contractor completed the task within a day. In due course, and hardly unexpectedly, some residents not party to the land acquisition enterprise complained to the local planning authority. This culminated in a planning application being submitted and duly considered before being rejected. Two things flowed from this. First and predictably, the applicants' appealed to the relevant central government department and second, the other residents applied to have the land declared to be a 'village green' within the meaning of the Commons Act 2006. For the moment then the fence remains, visible in this image as the light-coloured section of fence in the centre of the image and the fence leading away from it. However on the 27th January 2010 the local authority granted village green status to the land in view - except the land appropriated as described above. If the planning appeal fails and those in possession of it hand it back, a further application to include the land as village green will probably be made. A local newspaper report on the village green application can be read here LinkExternal link For a closer look at the fence please see this image SU1992 : A significant garden fence, Barra Close, Highworth, Swindon

It's different now (Sept 2010) LinkExternal link
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SU1992, 34 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Thursday, 28 January, 2010   (more nearby)
Thursday, 28 January, 2010
Village green   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SU 194 927 [100m precision]
WGS84: 51:37.9883N 1:43.2400W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SU 194 927
View Direction
WEST (about 270 degrees)
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Image classification(about): Geograph
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