Popular field ‘should be village green’
A CAMPAIGN launched by Ramsbottom Heritage Society to secure town-village green status for a popular field has stepped up a gear.
They have distributed questionnaires around the town to support the bid to guarantee the historical rights to Church Fields after its owners fenced off the land more than two years ago.
If the application to Bury Council to have the Church Fields registered under the 2006 Commons Act is successful, then access to the site to the north east of St Andrew’s Church would be freely available.
The society has been examining the legal status of Church Fields since its owners, Peel Holdings, fenced the land off in April, 2011. Society president Andrew Todd has already collected statements from many local residents whose memories of leisure activities on the field stretches back to the 1920s.
To help boost the society’s evidence questionnaire, Mr Todd wants to hear from people in the town who used the open space below St Andrew’s Church for recreation between 1991 and 2011 or who walked its two paths.
The question sheet is available from two newsagents, and several shops, pubs and cafes.
Questionnaires can also be downloaded from ramsbottomheritage.org.uk/churchfields Mr Todd said: “The forms are certainly going out — one newsagent has had his box refilled twice.
“We are now running short, and ask if people have taken a questionnaire, and decide they don’t want to fill it in, to please return it blank so that it can be used by someone else.”
He added: “It seems ironic that as our boxes were being distributed, the government has launched a campaign to encourage children to play out at least one hour a day. Councils are being urged to block off certain streets for short periods each day to allow this.
“Yet we have in Church Fields a town play area which has been used safely beyond living memory, without any known incident of danger to a child. And this is now fenced off with a threat of development hanging over it.”
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