Letter: Green spaces should be gifted to town

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Letters

I find it distasteful that Jelson Homes, a company that has profited handsomely over many years from building houses in Stamford and claims to be community focussed on its own web site, are selling off our green spaces and play areas whilst our local councils stand by and let it happen.

It is my understanding that a condition of the original planning consents was that these areas were to be left as Open Space, presumably with the intention of softening the estates and providing community spaces for residents, and that Jelson opted not to have them adopted by the council, preferring to retain ownership and with it the liability for mowing and other maintenance.

However, from my conversations with town and district councillors it seems that, at some point, the council mistakenly began mowing and maintaining these green spaces at the tax payer’s expense as if they had been adopted.

What a wonderful state of affairs for Jelson, who presumably sat back and had a good laugh at the council’s incompetence whilst we picked up their tab!

When the council’s error came to light many years later, over 30 years later according to some residents, and the liability for maintenance was passed back to Jelson, they promptly applied for planning permission on various green spaces.

Then, when residents defeated those applications at the turn of the year, employing a planning consultant at their own cost, Jelson put approximately 17 green spaces up for auction.

Following a campaign to highlight the issue, the majority of the lots were bought by local businessman and Councillor John Dawson with the others being bought by local residents in an attempt to save them for the town.

Meanwhile, Jelson managed to profit from the sales whilst simultaneously offloading their ongoing mowing and maintenance cost liability.

At the time of writing, they have now put a second wave of green spaces up for auction on June 18, mainly located north of Casterton Road and including the strip of grass on which the Welcome to Stamford sign hangs.

I am told that this is only a percentage of the green spaces under their ownership and presumably more planning applications and auctions will follow.

If this is true, our elected officials need to step in as we cannot continue to pay to right their mistakes nor rely on community-minded residents or businessmen buying the green spaces for the town.

I appreciate that, within the boundaries of law, Jelson can do as they wish with their land.

However, having made so much money from Stamford homeowners and saved their pennies whilst taxpayers paid their maintenance costs, do they not now have a moral obligation to bring this issue to an end by gifting the land to the town for SKDC to maintain?

To sign our ePetition go to www.gopetition.com/petitions/stop-jelson-homes-selling-stamfords-green-spaces.html

Dan Hiblin

Stamford Open Spaces 
Campaign,
Roman Bank,

Stamford