Campaigners fighting to keep green spaces near their homes are celebrating after most of the plots were bought by a town councillor.
Jelson Homes put 17 plots on the 350-home Scottish estate in Stamford up for auction at Leicester Racecourse on Wednesday
The sale caused huge concern among residents who had successfully fought off planning applications to build on some of the plots earlier this year.
More than 400 people signed a petition calling for the green spaces to be retained for the community and a protest by campaign group Stamford Open Spaces was planned outside the auction.
But a last-minute addendum to the Kal Sangra Shonki Brothers auction on Wednesday said all lots had been sold.
It later emerged that some of the plots had been sold to Stamford town councillor John Dawson (Independent).
Coun Dawson, who runs jewellers Dawson of Stamford, in Red Lion Square and St Mary’s Street, bought the green spaces on Montrose Close, Falkirk Close, Oban Close, Ayr Close, Christ Church Close and on the south side of Casterton Road.
Coun Dawson said he hoped to make sure the plots would be kept for community use. He plans to pass the land on to a body such as the Harry Skells’ Estate Trust.
Coun Dawson said: “I didn’t want to see green spaces taken away from Stamford. If I didn’t buy the plots it would have been too late.
“I would like the land to be kept in perpetuity for the people of Stamford. A lot of children play there and people probably bought their houses with the thought that they would be green spaces in perpetuity.”
Coun Dawson did not say how much he paid for the land, but the lots had a combined guide price of £5,500.
Two more lots were also sold prior to the auction, although the buyers are as yet unknown.
These were lot one, which comprises land cornering Perth Road and Aberdeen Close, Perth Road and Caithness Road, and Perth Road and Troon Close; and lot three, comprising land off Melrose Close, at the end of Ayr Close and Cromarty Road.
Stamford Open Spaces spokesman Dan Hiblin thanked Coun Dawson for buying the plots, adding: “We plan to keep campaigning until these greens are safely in trust for the town.”