Bury Parish Council recently reported that the council had agreed to meet the cost of a surveyor’s report requested by the Diocese in connection with the possible sale of their part of the Glebe Field.
By way of some further background, since the 1970s, there have been Bury Parish Council resolutions to secure the Glebe Field as a permanent open and green space at the heart of the village by acquisition should the opportunity arise.
The recent news from Wisborough Green that Chichester Diocese is willing to sell a similar Glebe Field, integral to the character of that village and adjacent to their Grade1 listed church is alarming – the proposed development of 25 new houses on the site is obviously viewed as a tremendous threat to their village.
In the Bury Neighbourhood Plan, the Glebe Field is designated as a Local Green Space and therefore enjoys a high degree of protection from development – however it is not without precedent for the provisions of a Neighbourhood Plan to be challenged, if necessary at appeal/enquiry stage, by determined developers backed by planning consultants and with pressure on the planning system and the need of local authorities to meet housing targets, such assaults have been known to succeed.
Obviously, the Diocese is free to sell the space to whoever they wish but the protection afforded to the Glebe Field would be even more certain if the land could be acquired by BPC. We are therefore talking to the Diocese about the potential purchase of their half of the Glebe Field. A survey has been carried out by the Diocese to ascertain the covenants on the field, the use we would put it to and the willingness of the Diocese to sell and it seems that they may be open to moving a conversation forward with Bury Parish Council. There has been no discussion on terms as that will depend on the outcome of the investigations and consultations that are now underway.
The Chair of the Parish Council at Wisborough Green has appealed to us for our help to object online to the proposals for their Glebe Field. He believes they now have a hard fight ahead to stop a planning disaster being successful. His advice to us is that if we should explore every avenue and do all we can to acquire our Glebe Field for the Parish and to secure it in perpetuity as a village green space. BPC will therefore continue to explore any possibility that is for the benefit of the village and we will, of course, report back with news as it develops.