Over £2,000 raised in bid to cover legal fees for Friends Of group who lost court action against Sheffield council

Over £2,000 has been raised in a bid to cover the legal fees for a Friends Of group who lost their court action against Sheffield council.

Wednesday, 6th March 2019, 2:19 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th March 2019, 2:22 pm
Graves Park
Graves Park

The Friends of Graves Park said they were devastated by the court judgement on February 15, after losing legal action to try and protect Graves Park and having all costs awarded against them. 

They faced the decision of whether to find over £36,000 to cover the court costs against them, or not accept the decision and have to raise the money to appeal. 

(l-r) Barbara Greatorex, Ernest Brewin and Caroline Dewar, of Friends of Graves Park

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Setting up a fundraising page, they asked the public for help in raising the £40,000 needed to cover the legal fees incurred and to launch their appeal – with £2, 913 being raised so far.

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The group went to court to seek a declaration to prevent any further sale or disposal of Graves Park lane without a scheme, after Cobnar Cottage and the designated charitable parkland on which it stood were sold freehold.

The High Court found that the council had acted in accordance with its legal duties and responsibilities in the sale of the cottage, after investing the proceeds of the sale into improving Graves Park.

Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure said: “Every penny from the proceeds of the sale of Cobnar Cottage has already been invested into improving Graves Park and has enabled us to upgrade the field shelters at our Animal Farm, improve play facilities, upgrade the toilets and contributed to the refurbishments of the tennis courts.

“As trustees of Graves Park we always act in the best interests of the park and its visitors to make sure we can maintain high standards and wherever possible we will continue to invest in our parks for the benefit of our communities.

“The Council has been put to some cost in defending the legal proceedings taken against it by the Friends of Graves Park. We will be looking to recover a significant proportion of those costs from the Friends Group.” 

Caroline Dewar, Chair of Friends of Graves Park said: “Whilst there is always a risk with any litigation, we would not be seeking to appeal unless those concerns were supported by our legal team and we had been advised that we should seriously consider this appeal.

“The Friends of Graves Park took this action on behalf of the citizens of Sheffield, to try and protect what was given to them in trust. Governments and Councils come and go, there are lean years sometimes, but once this beautiful and rare gift is gone, it is gone forever.

We must try and protect Graves Park, all of Graves Park, from sale or disposal, because the past 20 years have taught us that those who wish to sell off the property of the people will not stop and go away until they are stopped for good.”

Anyone wanting to donate to the cause can visit the JustGiving page here.