R4U has referred the Conservative UDC Cabinet’s proposal to sell a wildlife site for housing for review by UDC’s Scrutiny Committee. The review comes after R4U investigations found that the land near De Vigier Avenue in Saffron Walden was actually donated as community ‘public open space’ in perpetuity, and not for building.
The land is a half-hectare triangle of community green-space at the end of De Vigier Avenue on the east of Saffron Walden. When development was undertaken in that area in 1984, the land was transferred via a covenant to UDC for community use ‘as a public open space’. The UDC Cabinet is now proposing to sell this public open space for the development of up to 14 homes as part of a scheme on the adjacent Ridgeon site.
Dr Richard Freeman of R4U, who is Saffron Walden Mayor and district councillor for the ward, said “Since 1984 UDC has been the custodian of this land for community use on behalf of residents. We can assume that when the UDC Cabinet recommended selling the land for development they were not aware that the land is legally reserved for public use, not for private buildings. The land is currently used as a nature habitat and it is important that it is maintained as such, which is why we’ve referred the UDC Cabinet decision for a review by the Scrutiny Committee.”