Row over green space lands council in court

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A ROW over the ownership of two football pitch in South Yorkshire has ended up in the High Court.

The 2,000 sq metre green next to Cadwell Close, Cudworth, Barnsley, was the subject of an attempted buy-up by the council, who wanted to impose a compulsory purchase order to ensure the land ‘remains available to the public for recreational purposes’.

But the council’s plans for the CPO were rejected by Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles last year.

The council challenged the Government decision and took the case to the High Court, but lost its fight after a top judge ruled the land’s importance to the village was not clear enough to justify the ‘Draconian’ compulsory purchase order.

Mr Justice Foskett said the field, which contains little other than two five-a-side football pitches, has been tended by the council since houses were built in Cadwell Close in the 1980s.

A dispute arose when Irish travellers moved onto the field in 2009, claiming it had been transferred to them by the land’s owner, the court heard.

The council sprung into action, granting the area ‘village green status’ and making it immune from further development and when rows over access to the land continued in 2010, they made the CPO.

Ruling in favour of the Government, in overriding the CPO, Mr Justice Foskett said: “Depriving a landowner of land that belongs to him, no matter how popular it may be with other people, is not something the law permits lightly.”