Village Green bid in for Kingsmead Field

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Canterbury City Council has submitted its formal application to register Kingsmead Field as a Village Green.

The application, made to Kent County Council (KCC) as the registration authority for Village Greens, is in line with a commitment made by the city council to the Friends of Kingsmead Field that it would voluntarily apply for the status in return for a small area of the field being developed for housing near to Kingsbrook Park.

Around 80 per cent of the field is included in the application. Along with the area of housing, a strip of land on the riverside corridor and riverside slope is also excluded in case the council or Environment Agency need to carry out maintenance to the river in the future.

Village Green status protects the land from being developed and is one of the highest protections available in the country.

Chairman of the council’s Regeneration and Property Committee, Cllr Ben Fitter-Harding, said: “We’re pleased to be delivering on the promise we made back at our committee meeting in late 2016 to voluntarily pursue Village Green status for Kingsmead Field.

“Many people will remember the recent history with the field, but we’ve now developed a very positive relationship with the Friends group. There has been much activity in recent years – a new play area, bike racks, picnic tables and new walkways around the field to name just four – and this application is the next piece of the jigsaw.”

Sian Pettman, from the Friends of Kingsmead Field, said: “We are delighted that the council is submitting the application for Village Green status for 80 per cent of Kingsmead Field. We have been working closely with the council on the enhancement of the field over the last few years, and the attainment of Village Green status will be the fulfilment of a long-held ambition.

“Kingsmead Field will become the first Village Green in the city of Canterbury so it will be a wonderful joint achievement, and we look forward to celebrating its registration later this year.”

Village Green applications are decided by KCC on a first come, first served basis. It is hoped the Kingsmead Field application will be considered by KCC’s Regulation Committee in May.

Meanwhile, work is continuing behind the scenes at the council on the housing project on the field. Planning permission was granted for 16 homes in August 2018, five of which will be for local families on the council’s housing waiting list. Construction will start later this year.