Posted: 26.06.20 at 14:12 by Tim Lethaby
The Friends of Tor Leisure have held a virtual celebration after their victory in protecting the green space in Glastonbury following an eight year-long campaign.
Glastonbury’s Tor Leisure fields have been saved from future development and will now be kept as a recreational asset for generations to come thanks to the pressure group.
In April 2012 Mendip District Council held a consultation, outlining their plans for housing and other development on the Benedict Street field.
Incensed with the idea of losing the only large green recreational space in the town, the local community immediately formed a campaign group to fight the plans.
Named The Friends of Tor Leisure, they organised public meetings to highlight the threat and a Freedom of Information request revealed the extent of the development which was likely to occur.
It became clear that both of the fields,which are enjoyed by the people of Glastonbury for cricket, football, dog walking and a host of other activities, could be lost under a new housing estate. One potential development plan showed that not a single blade of grass would have remained.
The Friends of Tor Leisure say they initially found it very difficult to get town and district councillors onside and have been upset at recent claims that everyone had worked together for eight years.
The group took the law into their own hands by submitting a Village Green Application which, if approved, would have meant that nothing could ever be built on the fields again.
They also organised a protest outside Glastonbury Town Hall and a petition to show the strength of feeling against the plans.
The group actually wanted to persuade the councils to opt for a different kind of land protection called Fields in Trust, which would allow some appropriate building, like perhaps a new clubhouse or changing rooms but importantly, not a housing estate.
Eventually, the group says, as the town and district council administrations changed, the councillors started to come round and after more than eight years of pressure, the fields have finally been put into trust.
Therefore, they are safe from developers and will be enjoyed as a recreational asset in perpetuity.
Spokesperson for the group, Paul Manning, said: “It’s been a long and difficult journey but we are delighted that the fields are now safe and will be enjoyed by generations of Glastonbury residents to come.”