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New village green attempt launched

RESIDENTS in the Pickersleigh Road area of Malvern have lau-nched a second attempt to have a nearby field declared a village green.

Hayslan Field, off Hayslan Road, was controversially ploughed up by its owners, Malvern Girls' College, last month as a demonstration of ownership.

Since 1994, Pickersleigh Residents Group (PRG) has been pushing for village green status for the land.

The field, between Hayslan Road and the railway line, is part of a 'green lung' of fields and meadows within Malvern's built-up area.

PRG made its first application to Worcestershire County Council in the mid-1990s, but was unsuccessful

Bob Morrison, of PRG, who has made the latest application, said they believe the new application will be more successful because of a later legal ruling.

In 1999, the Law Lords supported the villagers of Sunningdale, Oxfordshire, who wanted to register a piece of open land as a village green.

Mr Morrison said: "The main reason for which we lost is one which is overturned in the Law Lords' ruling."

He said residents were expecting the process to take some time.

"I expect it will go to and fro between us and the college, and last time the to-and-fro lasted a couple of years.

"People in this area are firmly convinced that the college wants to develop this land," he said.

At one stage, Malvern Hills District Council looked at the possibility of buying the land, but dropped it because money it had set aside for the purchase proved not to be enough.

The land, which is crossed by footpaths, is much used by local people for walking, dog-walking and informal recreation.

College bursar Sam Hesketh said: "We will continue to oppose the application and it has been passed to our legal advisors. We are unable to make any further comment."

Malvern Hills District Council's Executive Committee, meanwhile, this week approved the selling off of land it owns at the rear of 24 and 26, Hayslan Road.

The land was retained by the authority when other plots at the end of Hayslan Road were developed several years ago. Part was let but strips were retained to prevent purchasers capitalising on potential access to the Malvern Girls' College land.

The authority believes there are now "more appropriate" means of access available and regards the land as surplus to its requirements.

Selling will be conducted through an estate agent and is expected to realise "modest" capital receipts.

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