GREEN SPACES: Country parks could receive permanent legal protection
Planning inspectors have questioned how land in Alyn Waters Country Park in Llay was chosen for a Gypsy and Traveller site, Image: Google
Country parks in Wrexham could be given permanent legal protection to prevent them from being developed.
It follows an increase in the number of people visiting green spaces in the area to exercise during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Wrexham Council has earmarked a total of ten sites in the county borough to be preserved for recreational use, including Alyn Waters, Ty Mawr and Moss Valley.
The proposals would see the land dedicated as part of the “Green Spaces for Good” scheme run by the Fields in Trust charity.
The plans, which will be considered by senior councillors next week, have been hailed as “good news” for the area by deputy council leader David A Bithell.
The local authority’s lead member for environment and transport said: “During lockdown, many people have been using local facilities and local country parks and we were encouraging them while travel restrictions were in place.
“It has highlighted the need for us as a council to give something back to local communities.
“It’s to encourage people to walk, run, cycle, socialise and connect.
“What we want to do as a council is to protect public spaces for good.
“It also gives us an opportunity if we do dedicate the land for tree planting and to encourage nature and biodiversity.”
Fields in Trust works with landowners, including councils, voluntary organisations, and private parties, to protect green spaces via a deed of dedication.
It forms a binding legal commitment, which requires owners to preserve sites for recreational use in perpetuity.
Wrexham Council has recently been criticised over proposals to build a new school on the Nine Acre Field in Maesydre amid complaints of a lack of green space in the community.
However, council leader Mark Pritchard cited the removal of a suggested Gypsy and Traveller site within Alyn Waters Country Park from a key planning blueprint as proof it was listening to people.
The independent politician said: “This administration has a fantastic track record of protecting public open spaces and we’re going to continue to do so.
“You can remember the reaction when we had the Local Development Plan, where there was a proposal for a Gypsy and Traveller site to go into a country park.
“Public opinion was very vocal on that and that’s why we as a group decided that we wouldn’t support that.”
The proposals will be considered at a meeting of the ruling independent/Conservative administration being held on Tuesday (October 12, 2021).
Words: Liam Randall, Local Democracy Reporter
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