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Effort to solve Mayfield Grove land ownership row
AN environmental group could be put in charge of a disputed patch of land in York.
In May, City of York Council invited organisations to submit bids for taking over the management of public open space at Mayfield Grove, near Hob Moor, amid an ownership controversy surrounding the site which dates back 15 years.
Two bids were made – from York Natural Environment Trust and Chase Residents’ Association – and the council will this week decide which should be given responsibility for the land.
Officials have recommended approving the trust’s management plan, saying it was more “comprehensive” and scored higher during an assessment process. However, they also said the proposals lacked detail on how the local community would be involved in the site’s future operation.
The land was designated as open space in 1997 after permission was given for 123 homes to be built on nearby railway sidings. Its developers were meant to pay the council a financial contribution towards its maintenance after the housing scheme’s 2003 completion.
The intention was to pass the ownership title to the trust so it could manage the site.
By 2003, however, the land had passed to another firm, Taylor Wimpey, who it later emerged had sold part of it on, leading to the council considering legal action.
A report by David Warburton, its head of design, conservation and sustainable development, said this portion of the site had now been transferred to the council and the legal process to transfer the rest of the land to the authority was “at an advanced stage”.
The report said the association’s bid was “stronger on community involvement aspects” and showed “enthusiasm and commitment”, but did not “entirely reflect” supporting comments from the community or show how it would deliver a “ten-year restoration period” which the association said the site needs.
It said officers who assessed the bids felt the association had better local links while the trust had wider support, but a wildlife-based approach at Mayfield Grove could “sideline” residents while a community-focused plan might “compromise” wildlife. However, it said the authority believed either group could manage the site.
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