A bid to protect a piece of land Market Deeping residents have used recreationally for more than 130 years is set to be rejected next week.
The Friends of Market Deeping have applied to give the field off Millfield Road “village green status”, which, if approved would protect the site from any future development.
However, Lincolnshire County Council wants to turn the land into housing and has submitted plans for 260 homes to be built there.
The authority’s Planning and Regulation Committee next week will be told that an independent inspector has recommended refusing the application.
The inspector found the application passed several key criteria, however it failed over the use of the land by permission.
According to the documents, the applicants said people had used the site for jogging, dog walking, fruit picking, enjoying wildlife, photography and children playing.
They say users had “believed that they had an existing legal right to go onto the land”.
However, the county council refutes this and says that, apart from a footpath through the land and the Deeping Show, it was a private agricultural field.
In 2006 the authority put signs up to keep people out.
The development plans sparked a protest meeting last year when more than 170 people turned up to tell the council “no”.
The site previously came up for development in 2009 and 2014 and was rejected both times as not being suitable.
Pam Steel, from the Friends of Mill Field, who have made the application, said the site has been used by the public events and leisure since at least 1882 hosting Oddfellows events, football matches and the Deeping Show up until 2013.
She told Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Jaines: “It would be an enormous loss, socially and environmentally, to the people of Market Deeping if the site went.
“We are already having a lot of houses built and we just feel that if this was developed as well it would mean the town would just be an area of residential housing.
“The field is very special to people for various reasons. It’s not just a field, it’s special to the people of Market Deeping.”
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