VILLAGE green applications from two communities over prized parcels of common land could face contrasting outcomes.
Members of Durham County Council’s Highways Committee are to rule on bids for protective registration from villagers in the north and east of the county.
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The Kimblesworth application was originally lodged by local women Pamela Shanks and Julie Burnham to the now disbanded Chester-le-Street District Council in January 2007.
It refers to an area known as The Green, off Elm Crescent, behind East Parade and South View, which has been used by local people “for sports and pastimes, as of right, for not less than 20 years”.
The bid is backed by letters from 30 local residents, who refer to regular use of the land for recreation and dog walking for decades.
Among them was Carole Jackson, who was brought up in Kimblesworth in the 1950s and recalls playing on the land.
She has subsequently returned and lived in the village for the last 34 years.
She said: “Generations of children have used it, and still do. Our sons are grown up now and left home, but our grandchildren now play there regularly.”
She added it would be “detrimental” to existing villagers and future generations to build on the land.
Recommendation of approval for the application excludes a small part of the site which is accepted to be in private ownership.
But, at Horden, the bid for village green registration for The Church Green, opposite St Mary’s Church, in Blackhills Terrace, has not met with a recommendation for approval.
Horden Parish Council claimed it has been used by the public since the 1940s with footpaths crossing the land.
But Colette Longbottom, the council’s head of legal and democratic services, said there appears to be no recorded rights of way across the land and little evidence of recent use other than for access.
She said: “Although the user evidence is that the land has been used from as far back as the 1940s, the qualifying period for the purposes of the application is the 20 years immediately preceding the application, between October 1992 and October 2012.”
Both bids will be discussed at the Highways Committee’s monthly meeting, at County Hall, on Wednesday, November 6, at 9.30am.