Click here to see the original story on the EP website
By Ian Onions, Political Editor
CITY council leader Barbara Janke says she wants to see a resolution over the future of the Ashton Vale stadium site “as quickly as possible”.
The Liberal Democrat answered calls for the council to get on and make a decision on the controversial site by saying a date would soon be set for a meeting to decide its final position.
The council has the final say on an inspector’s recommendation that the site of the planned £92 million stadium should be registered as a town green, protecting it from all future development.
Green councillor Tess Green has echoed the views of out-going club chairman Steve Lansdown and leading campaigner Linda
Southville Cllr Tess Green- "everyone is fed up with this"
Stone that the council should move swiftly on and make a decision.
The Evening Post revealed yesterday that the Tories urgently want a debate on the issue to force a decision, as one of their conditions for supporting a minority Lib Dem administration in the wake of last week’s council elections.
Ms Green, who represents Southville ward, has written to the council asking for an early decision.
She said: “Everyone is fed up with this. The council should get on with it and decide whether they are going to accept or reject the application for a town green.”
Council leader Barbara Janke wants a resolution "as quickly as possible"
Last night Mrs Janke issued a statement saying that she agreed the time for action had arrived.
She said: “I am keen that we press ahead as soon as possible and a date should be set shortly for a meeting of the Public Rights of Way and Greens committee.
“I am consulting with the other party leaders so that we can move ahead with this as quickly as possible.”
Mediation talks between the landowners and Ashton Vale residents pushing for town green status broke down nearly two weeks ago after both sides failed to resolve the issue.
Now that the talks have failed, it lies with the council to make a decision on registration.
One of the options would be to hold a second inquiry in the light of additional evidence that was submitted by the club after an independent inspector recommended that the entire site should be registered.
Another option would be to ask the seven-member Public Rights of Way committee to make a decision.
One of the possibilities would be for councillors to register some parts of the site as a town green but leave the 19 acres of former landfill tip which has been earmarked as the stadium site.
Whatever decision was taken by the council, the losing side is bound to take the issue to court.
Mr Lansdown has already said the football club will go to appeal if town green status is approved.
Last week, Mrs Stone, one of the two residents who signed the application for the 42-acre site to be registered as a town green, said that she wished the council would hurry up and do its job by making a decision and put an end to the uncertainty.
After the talks broke down, signs were erected on the site to point out that the land is private except for public footpaths which are marked on a map and permitted routes which are only allowed with the consent of the owners.
This has prompted Councillor Green to fear that work could start on the site before the town green issue was resolved.
She said: “Any such move by the landowners would increase the risk of violent confrontation in an already tense stand-off between the two sides.”
Read Full Post »