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Plans for protection order on local beauty spot

A Middlesbrough beauty spot will receive certified village green status under a proposal made by Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston.

The green parcel of land bordered by Newfield Crescent and Blue Bell Beck in the Trimdon ward will be subject to an application for the protection order.

Previously Trimdon residents staged a hugely positive campaign about the benefits of the land after it was put forward for consultation for potential development.

At the end of the consultation period the site was removed from the then draft Local Plan proposals.

However it is now being proposed that further protection is given to the land by making an application for village green status.

The move is being made by Mr Preston and has the backing of ward councillors Dennis McCabe and Carolyn Dodds.

Registration of land as a village green gives legal protection against future development. As Middlesbrough Council owns the land it is free to make the designation itself.

In order to obtain the status, the main requirement is that "a significant number of the inhabitants of any locality, or of any neighbourhood within a locality, have indulged as of right in lawful sports and pastimes on the land for a period of at least 20 years."

Mr Preston said: "The green spot at Newfield Crescent is absolutely beautiful and a place that definitely needs any protection we can give it.

"There's no doubt it meets the criteria and the community has made itself loud and clear about how much it means to them in a really positive way.

"That's something I can feel when I'm there and once we've got this order we can potentially look at other parts of the town which are equally as important to people."

The possibility of land being a town or village green is important, because once a green is registered:

  • It is a criminal offence to undertake any act which interrupts the use or enjoyment of a green as a place for exercise and recreation or to cause any damage to the green.
  • It is an offence to drive over a registered town or village green without lawful authority and in certain other circumstances. 
  • It is deemed to be a public nuisance and therefore, an offence, to enclose or encroach on a green, or interfere with, disturb or build on a green, unless this is done "with a view to the better enjoyment of such town or village green."
  • Greens may also be subject to any registered rights of common.

Trimdon Ward councillors Dennis McCabe and Carolyn Dodds are backing the Village Green application.

Cllr McCabe said: "It's a fantastic idea and about time because people use it and it's a valuable asset to the area for the youths and the elderly and it's the heart and lungs of the Blue Bell Beck."

Cllr Dodds added: "I have lived in Newfield Crescent for 53 years looking at this wonderful open space. Residents can walk the full length of the area from Mandale Road up to Hemlington Lake. Fabulous for walking, running and cycling, a great place to relax, relieve stress, all good for mental health.

"We have foxes, deer and a great variety of butterflies, wild flowers, which would be preserved. We have a jewel in the crown right in the centre of our town. To be granted Village Green Status would be the icing on the cake with no more worries about building on our precious land."

Martyn Walker, from the Greenstuff Middlesbrough campaign group, said: "Protecting our greenspaces and community involvement are part of this wind of change, and I and everyone involved with Greenstuff Middlesbrough are proud to be a part of that."

Pictured: Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston (third from right) and Trimdon ward councillors Dennis McCabe (fifth from right) and Carolyn Dodds (fourth from right) with members of the local community at land on Newfield Crescent which will be given Village Green Status.