Nervous wait for results of village green inquiry

Residents grateful for support

Residents in Norton St Philip have a nervous wait ahead as evidence is reviewed over the submission of an application for village green status for Shepherds Mead.

The five-acre meadow has been used for grazing, haymaking and recreation remaining unspoiled by cultivation for generations. The absence of intensive farming allows wild flowers and other plants to thrive, supporting an abundance of insects including bees, beetles, grasshoppers and butterflies which provides a feeding habitat for birds, bats and small animals. Surrounded by dwellings on three sides and crossed by four public rights of way, the location and features of Shepherds Mead makes it a vital green space where village residents and their families enjoy nature.

It follows a four-year process during which Linda Oliver has worked doggedly, outside of her capacity as a councillor, with other residents of Norton St Philip, on gaining the successful application. Over the last two weeks, she and many others have given more than 36 hours of witness evidence at the inquiry. This is compared to just 15 hours of evidence from objectors.

Linda Villlage Green 2

Linda said: “I am eternally grateful for all the support from all our witnesses which has been overwhelming. Thank you. When local people have used land for a long time for informal recreation, they grow to love it, and they assume it will always be there. When it is threatened, they want to protect their rights to enjoy it and village green registrations is the means to record their rights. Communities may want some developments but they also want their ‘village greens’, which they have enjoyed for decades.  I am determined to fight any inappropriate development proposals across my ward.”

A decision on the application should be made in around two months.