Hayslan Road's long history as a public open space

REGARDING your story (May 2) in the Gazette and your coverage (May 23) of the meeting held by Pickersleigh Residents Group at Barnards Green Cricket Ground to fight proposed plans by developers Barwood in conjunction with GVA Grimley, who are proposing to build up to 150 homes on land at Hayslan Road.

We would particularly like to address a comment made in your paper by a Welland resident who says she had never heard the phrase the 'green lung' applied to this "undistinguished field".

We would say to this person and anyone who doesn't appear to know the history of this site that it is a rare natural open space in the centre of an area of high density housing with an outstanding backdrop of the Malvern Hills and used by a great many locals on a daily basis.

It has a history of over 100 years as recreational ground and in 2003 the local residents applied to give it village green status as it had been abandoned for 20 years by the girls college (now Malvern St James) as a sports field. The application was turned down on a technicality.

Malvern Hills District Council designated this site as urban green space in the last local plan, protecting it from development.

In 2005 the developers Persimmon Homes made a planning application to build 72 houses on this site, which was refused.

Persimmon challenged this decision, but the government Inspector upheld the council's decision and said "the site provided a major asset as urban green space to Malvern town for its contribution to the townscape, biodiversity and informal recreation".

This fact remains as true today, if not more so!

Steve Ashley

Malvern

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