Residents put in a bid to save shared green from developers

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Residents have submitted an application to Crawley Borough Council in a bid to save a communal green.

More than 40 members of the Ely Close Action Group nominated the plot to be designated an ‘asset of community value’ - which could force the council to consider their bid to buy it.

Plans to use the land for 18 homes was approved on appeal in December 2013.

Father-of-two Steve Butler, 42, of Oxford Close, said: “It’s our bit of land. It is valued and we don’t want it to go.

“We live in a concrete jungle and they’re going to build on every green space we’ve got.”

He added: “I appreciate Crawley Borough Council have to find places to build new houses but when’s it going to stop?

“We believe that they are using Ely Close as a test case and if they get that through I wouldn’t be surprised if they try to build over the other plots in our area as well.”

The land is enclosed by Ely Close, Oxford Road, Winchester Road and Worcester Road.

The council has eight weeks to decide if the land meets the legal requirements to be made an ‘asset of community value’.

If so, it would have to consider the residents’ bid to buy if the land was put up for sale.

Mr Butler said residents’ stood to lose the only green space where their children could play safely.

His children, aged ten and 14, have played in the field all their lives.

He said: “We’ve got Tilgate Forest and the lake not too far away from us but that’s not space where you can let your children out unsupervised.”

He said his 14-year-old son was threatened with a knife in Tilgate Forest.

People who live near the field have used it for parties and put up a marquee during the Royal Wedding.

The council’s cabinet first proposed developing the site in 2009.

A borough council spokeswoman said: “The council is now awaiting exchange of contracts for the sale of land to Moat Housing Association, who will provide much needed affordable housing for Crawley residents.”