Land takeover?

Thursday 26th March 2015 12:00 am
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CALSTOCK Parish Council could be set to own more pockets of land in the parish as councillors agreed last week to apply to Cornwall Council for a community asset transfer.

At a full council meeting last week, councillors spoke about the small piece of land at Longacre in Harrowbarrow and Foster's Field behind Gunnislake Primary School — both of which are owned by Cornwall Council but currently unused.

At the start of the meeting, a resident of Longacre, whose house backs on to the grassland which was originally designated for a play park when the houses were granted planning permission in the 1970s but has been left untouched, said that the residents had been carrying out basic maintenance work on the land.

Resident Nick Helson said: 'When planning permission was granted, there were plans in place for a play area but that never happened. We have been carrying out minor maintenance of it as the council hasn't been maintaining it for quite a while.'

Mr Helson said the residents were keen for it to stay as a play area and said they would be happy to continue basic maintenance but didn't want for it to be built on in several years time.

Cllr Dougal McLachlan said the land was on a 'very low priority list' for Cornwall Council's maintenance plan and said as far as he understood, the council would not be maintaining it in the future.

He said: 'Assets of no use to the local authority should be given back to the community so I'm asking the parish council to look at taking it over.'

He said Cornwall Council would be likely to allow the parish council the leasehold of the land for a minimum of 99 years.

Cllr Steve Jaggard asked what would happen if the parish council decided not to take the piece of land over, to which Cllr McLachlan replied: 'If we don't pursue it, it will be left as it is and will be left to the residents' goodwill to maintain it.'

Questions were raised as to why the parish council could not take over the freehold ownership of the land.

It was proposed and agreed that the parish council would request to take over the freehold of the land if possible and the leasehold if not and, if successful, to add it to the parish council's grass cutting scheme.

The parish council also discussed taking over the ownership of Foster's Field, which Cllr McLachlan felt would be open for an approach, but concerns were raised about the mining activity underneath the field and ensuring secure access for the school.

Cllr McLachlan said: 'I propose we take it over on a leasehold with a suitable break clause.'

Cllr Dick Hoile said: 'It's another piece of land and at least if it is managed by the parish council we will have some say over what happens to it.'

The council agreed to request the leasehold of Foster's Field with a break clause of one or two years after the beginning of the lease, which means the council could hand it back to Cornwall Council if it doesn't work out or if problems arise due to the mine shaft.

The parish council will now apply to the devolution department at Cornwall Council for a community asset transfer and await a response.

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