Application for town green in Cowbridge rejected

PLANS lodged more than seven years ago for a former cricket field to be turned into a town green have been rejected.

Vale of Glamorgan Council has rejected an application for land at The Butts in Cowbridge, currently owned by Cowbridge Comprehensive School, to be registered as a town green.

If it had been approved, the application would have allowed the land formerly known as Cowbridge Grammar School Cricket Field to be used for sports and recreation by members of the public.

The application was placed by Friends of the Grammar School Cricket Field in 2014 and an objection was later made by the Cowbridge Comprehensive School Trust.

When the application was at long last being decided at a Vale Council Public Protection Licensing Committee meeting, some councillors expressed disappointment over the recommendation for rejection.

Cllr Steffan Wiliam described the situation as a “sad state of affairs”.

“Something similar happened in the ward I represent, where a lot of people came together and wanted to have a village green and I think there are two reasons why,” he said.

“First of all, I think the underlying thing is they want to protect it from development probably, but I think there are also constructive things as well that they would have liked to have done with it.

“But, at the end of the day the trust wasn’t happy. I don’t think there’s much we can do about that is there?”

After the Cowbridge Comprehensive School Trust submitted its objection to the application, a public inquiry was launched and an independent inspector was brought in to consider the application.

It was concluded that the applicant “failed to satisfy the statutory tests under section 15(2) of the 2006 [Commons Act]”  and that not enough residents have used the field for sports or recreation during the “relevant 20 year period” – that is from December 1994 to December 2014.

Cllr Robert Fisher, who grew up in Cowbridge, said: “I was surprised by the comments in the report, which indicated that it hadn’t had significant use by the residents over the years because I played cricket on that ground myself and ruby while I was in school there.”

Cllr Michael Morgan reminded fellow members that the inspector’s report concluded that the application falls “markedly short” of the requirements to be approved.

He said: “It is sad for the community, but that is the way it is.

“This is land which is owned by the school and it is not simply a question of saying ‘yes, it should be for the community, it should be part of our village green’.

“Regrettably the keyboard warriors will be out in force later saying how the Vale of Glamorgan Council have turned down this meritorious application, but that is not right and I would invite anybody who is upset by the application to read Mr Marwick’s [the inspector] final report because it explains it very thoroughly and it explains how we as a council are doing things properly.”

The Inquiry was originally meant to take place on March 23, 2020. However, this was set back to February this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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