CAMPAIGNERS battling to save acres of Nuneaton countryside have been given a boost.
Warwickshire County Council is to appoint an independent inspector to assess their application to have Weddington Fields classed as Village Green.
He will conduct an informal local inquiry into the application and then put forward his recommendations.
SWORD (Save Weddington:Oppose the Residential Development) made the Village Green application as their final throw of the dice.
Sheffield-based developers Hallams Land Management have already been granted planning permission to develop the land.
They have been told they can build 326 houses and a doctor’s surgery on Weddington Fields.
However, if it is given Village Green status it will be protected for future generations.
But SWORD first has to prove its case to the inspector and provide and produce sufficient evidence.
The legal test for new village green includes several vital criteria under Section 15 of the 2006 Act.
SWORD will have to produce evidence to prove the land has been used for ‘lawful sports and pastimes,’ that the use has been for at least 20 years and that the land was used by ‘a significant number of inhabitants.’
The campaigners have been gathering photographic and written evidence from people who support their campaign and are prepared to appear before the local inquiry.
But Hallams Land Management will have a legal team to dispute the evidence.
In a report to the county council’s regulatory committee, Greta Needham, head of law and governance at Shire Hall, outlined the case for a local inquiry.
She said: “This application involves a profound disagreement between the applicant and objector over the evidence at stake, the amount of which is unusually large.”
The county council will foot the cost of the local inquiry which is expected to be held in Nuneaton in October.