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By Rachel Clare
CAMPAIGNERS fighting to protect an open green space in Southmead have applied for the land to be registered as a town green.
Members of The Friends of Elderberry Walk have handed in a town green application.
Bristol City Council agreed to sell part of Elderberry Walk, situated off Charlton Road, despite more than 1,650 people signing a petition saying they did not want to lose any of it.
Instead of dropping the sale altogether, the council cabinet decided to sell a smaller part than originally planned.
But The Friends of Elderberry Walk want the whole site kept and are attempting to get the land designated as a town green, which would ban a landowner from building on the space.
Friends member Alison Devonshire said: “We are a group of concerned residents that value our local park and want to promote its beauty for others to enjoy.
“We have applied for town green status because we want to safeguard the space for local people and others in Bristol who enjoy using the land for recreation.
“We all want to continue to be able to use this land forever, we don’t want it to be sold or built on.
“To us Elderberry Walk is like an outdoor community centre – we hold lots of events there and everyone uses it to meet up.”
The notice printed in today’s Evening Post asks anyone who objects to the application to write to the council by July 29.
An independent inspector will then make a recommendation to the authority on whether the site should be registered.
Southmead residents want to protect all of Elderberry Walk from development
Council documents show there are nine town green status applications relating to council-owned land.
These include Elderberry Walk, Whitchurch Park, Okebourne Park in Brentry, Wellington Hill playing fields in Horfield, Higham Street Green in Totterdown, Arnall Drive open space in Henbury, Filwood Park in Knowle West, Grove Wood in Stapleton and the proposed site of Bristol City’s new stadium Ashton Vale fields.
Some of the sites were part of 64 open spaces considered for sell-off by the council under its controversial green spaces plan. It was proposed some of them be sold to fund improvements in up to 160 others.
Apart from Elderberry Walk, other sites include Okebourne Park, Wellington Hill and Higham Street Green, which the authority has now said it will not be selling.
Part of Arnall Drive open space (south) in Henbury has been earmarked as one of the 33 sites the council is to sell off. Another part of the space, to the north, is still being considered for sale pending more research on flooding.
Council spokesman James Easey said: “The disposals will not happen tomorrow – this is a 20-year strategy, and there will be ongoing extensive involvement of local residents, and increasingly the Neighbourhood Partnerships, through the planning process and any future development of these sites.”
“It is important to remember these disposals only represent just over two per cent of all our parks and green spaces. And with the imminent acquisition of Stoke Park we will actually have more public parkland for people to enjoy than at present.”
Click here for other stories about the council’s green space sell-off plan