Public land is ‘much valued’

Three Bridges residents concerned that they ma lose their community garden. Mary Grace in the foregound. Pic Steve Robards SR1613396 SUS-160905-172439001
Three Bridges residents concerned that they ma lose their community garden. Mary Grace in the foregound. Pic Steve Robards SR1613396 SUS-160905-172439001
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Plans to allow a strip of public land in Three Bridges to be incorporated into a private garden have been approved.

The amenity land on the corner of Forge Road and The Birches has been looked after by residents and has previously won a Crawley in Bloom award.

It is owned by Crawley Borough Council and it is proposing to sell a 1.2 metre by 8.5 metre strip closest to the residential property.

Planning permission for a change of use for that part of the plot was approved by the council’s planning committee last Tuesday (June 7).

Councillor Bob Burgess (Con, Three Bridges), addressing the committee on behalf of residents, said it ‘seemed bizarre’ that residents could submit planning applications for land not even in their ownership.

He added: “Why can the decision not be deferred until after the issue of the land sale has been decided? Amenity land in Crawley is much valued by local residents and any loss is to the detriment of them and to all of us.”

But the agent for the scheme explained that it was a ‘fairly straight-forward application’ for a ‘small strip’ of the overall plot of land to square up the front garden to the edge of the property.

Councillor Peter Smith (Lab, Ifield) said: “This is a very small piece of land and it looks very sensible to draw the line straight out from the building’s edge.”

However, Councillor Kim Jaggard (Con, Maidenbower) raised concerns that applications for other strips of public land would be submitted.

She added: “It’s chipped away, a couple of metres here, a couple of metres there and then the whole thing is gone.”

But Councillor Francis Guidera (Con, Tilgate) added: “The decision tonight has nothing to do with the sale of the land. We are just saying it’s ok to put parking down on it.”

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