Land For Sale News : Greenbelt land news



FAMILIES in Guisborough are calling for a public meeting to discuss proposals by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council to turn the only piece of greenbelt land left in the town into a car park.

    The council wants to relocate one of its departments at Cargo Fleet, near Middlesbrough, to a disused highways depot in Guisborough.

    The plan would involve neighbouring parkland being bulldozed to make way for a car park.

    The Beckside Park Protest Group says the land, near Chapel Beck, is the last piece of greenbelt land in Guisborough, and is the only place accessible to wheelchairs.

    The residents are also concerned for a kingfisher and crayfish, which live in the beck.

    At a meeting of Guisborough Town Council, on Thursday night, Stuart Burns, a spokesman for the group, said they had gathered a petition with more than 2,000 signatures. They planned to hand it to Redcar and Cleveland council.

    He said that Laurence Jackson School and Prior Pursglove College had also asked for the petition, so students and teachers could add their support.

    He said: "It is the only greenbelt beckside walk we have in Guisborough, where people can walk along the side of the beck. We are very concerned we are going to lose that piece of land."

    The council agreed to back the residents' demand for a public meeting.

    Councillor Jo Gardener said: "I am appalled the borough council would dream of building on that land."

    Councillor Mary Kirkpatrick said: "I definitely think we don't want to lose any more greenbelt land. We have not been fully consulted and we know very little about it. Something has got to be done"

    But Councillor Keith Pudney, who also sits on Redcar and Cleveland council, said the borough council was only looking at the Chapel Beck site as an alternative to the preferred site at the old foundry at Blackett Hutton. Negotiations were continuing between the council and the foundry owner

Lucia Charnock


Area's green limits expand

NEARLY 150,000 acres in the former Avon area have officially been designated as greenbelt land.

    A Government department has compiled a list of greenbelt land throughout the country.

    It used boundaries which have been drawn up by local councils.

    The former Avon area includes Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset.

    The latest figures show that there was little change in the total area of greenbelt land in England between 1993 and 1997.

    There is currently about 3.4 million acres of greenbelt land in the country, about 13 per cent of the area.

    The aim of greenbelt land is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently undeveloped.

    It is also to prevent towns merging into each other, safeguarding the countryside, preserving historic towns and re-using derelict sites.

    Information about greenbelt land is available from the Planning and Land Use Statistics Division, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, 3/K10, Eland House, Bressenden Place, London SW1E 5DU.

Greenbelt history left to rot: NCC criticized for neglecting heritage homes and barns

The National Capital Commission has allowed a number of historic buildings in the Greenbelt to decay -- some to the point of collapse.

   A Citizen search through an NCC list of 16 sites in the Greenbelt containing historic homes, barns and other structures revealed a host of serious problems: sagging foundations, pillars and beams; missing portions of roofs; partially collapsed walls; fire damage; missing doors and windows; and sites overgrown with vegetation.

   ''I'm sad to see nothing has been done to preserve the buildings,'' said Barry Padolsky, a prominent Ottawa architect and heritage consultant. ''It's a scandal.''

   Indeed, the NCC itself once condemned the neglect of the buildings, and urged immediate action almost 20 years ago.

   A massive, two-volume NCC study conducted in 1982 of Greenbelt heritage buildings recommended urgent repairs to preserve structures and suggested the creation of a strong maintenance and management program.

   ''Heritage buildings in the Greenbelt have been badly neglected over the years,'' the Greenbelt Heritage Research study said. ''We discovered in our research recommendations for repairs made 15 and 20 years ago that still need to be undertaken.''

   ''The log buildings are for the most part salvageable, but work on the foundations and roofs will have to be performed in the near future or severe deterioration will occur,'' the report warned.

   NCC officials were unable to say what action was taken by the commission following the report.

   The Citizen found 12 historic barns on Greenbelt land in Nepean and Gloucester. All were in need of major repairs.

   While few of the heritage buildings are irrecoverable, according to Mr. Padolsky, at least one old log barn in Nepean is on the brink of collapse and loose boards at the top of the barn wave in the breeze, creating a potential hazard to passersby on the public land.

   NCC heritage planner Johanne Fortier said recently that she did not know whether any repairs had been done on the 16 sites containing historic buildings in the Greenbelt.

   She did say more studies are needed to determine the heritage value and condition of historic Greenbelt properties.

   ''I would have to do that second phase of research'' to discover if any repairs had been done, Ms. Fortier said.

   The Greenbelt was conceived by French urban planner Jacques Greber, who drew up a blueprint for the venture in 1950. In the two decades that followed, the NCC, a federal Crown corporation, gradually acquired the land that now makes up the Greenbelt.

   Created to provide a 18,600-hectare ribbon of green around the nation's capital, much of the land was acquired through expropriation in the 1950s and '60s -- a controversial, sometimes acrimonious, process.

   Those bad feelings continue to this day.

   Just last month, Gloucester farmer Doug Woodburn won a battle in Ontario Superior Court to stop the NCC from selling about $7-million worth of Greenbelt land at Blair and Innes roads.

   The 9.3-hectare parcel was expropriated in 1963 by the NCC after the farm had been in the Woodburn family for more than a century. Mr. Woodburn then leased his family farm from the agency until 1994, when the NCC refused to renew the agreement and he moved off the land.

   In 1997, the commission had the land rezoned commercial, raising its value, and declared it surplus, offering it for sale to developers.

   The NCC rents much of its Greenbelt land to farmers and homeowners.

   With the Greenbelt lands come the barns, sheds and homes of some of the area 's earliest settlers.

Ken Gray

Site Sponsors