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Save Our Lake Campaign

organised by
Fairford Environmental Society

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Click here for Home | LATEST NEWS  | Fairford Environmental Society |  The First Cygnet Planning Application for Lake 104

Cygnet Investments' latest Planning Applications

Cygnet Investments have put in 2 new planning applications for the land at Milestone House and at Lakes 103, 103a and 104. The plans for a ‘Tourist Development’ include 77 houses, 63 flats and a Leisure Complex.

The full application details can be seen on-line via CDC’s planning pages at www.cotswold.gov.uk (09/00882/OUT and 09/00872/OUT) or a new site set up by Cygnet themselves at www.fairfordlakes.info . Alternatively the plans are available in the Town Council offices by appointment.

Please send your comments to Cotswold District Council by 28th May.

Fairford Town Council held a Public Meeting

at 7.30 on Thursday 21st May in the Community Centre. Cygnet Investments were there in the afternoon to answer any queries.

Village Green Application

Unfortunately the Inspector recommended rejection of the Application to Register Lake 104 as a Village Green. Gloucestershire County Council is the Registration Authority and its Commons and Public Rights of Way Committee met on 21 September 2009 to make the actual decision. None of its members had probably visited Lake 104 and there was no discussion of the the application - the coucillors just seemed to rubber stamp the Inspector's recommendation.

There were three reasons for refusal:

  1. The applicant has not demonstrated user as of right by the inhabitants of the neighbourhood of Fairford over the application land or any part of it for 20 years.
  2. Such user that has been demonstrated has been contentious user and not user as of right
  3. Such public use as occured deferred to the overriding private rights of the land owner.

The Fairford Environmental Society has applied to register Lake 104 and its surrounding land as a Village Green. This seeks to officially acknowledge that the area has been used by local people for lawful pursuits and pastimes for over 20 years and get that use 'as of right' enshrined in law.

If successful, it will benefit all Fairford residents, and safeguard this beautiful area for future generations.

The Public Inquiry into the Village Green Application was on the 19th to 23rd January and 11th February 2009.

The Committee of the Fairford Environmental Society would like to thank all those who have supported our efforts to protect this well-used amenity area - both members and non-members. We are grateful to all those who attended the inquiry, those who generously gave donations towards the cost of our barrister and all the kind words of support and encouragement.

View from the south side of Lake 104

What is a Village Green?

A Village Green is a legal term for a place where local people enjoy recreation ‘as of right’. It does not have to be in the town centre. Village Green status does not alter the ownership of the lake or surrounding land, nor does it entail extra Council Tax. However, it does mean that there can be no built development on the land. It also preserves the right of local residents to use the land for ‘lawful pastimes’ such as those previously enjoyed before the fences went up, such as walking, playing, picnicking, cycling, paddling in the lake etc.

Doesn’t Fairford already have a Village Green?

Well actually, no, not in the legal sense. No area within the town is registered as a Green. For instance the Walnut Tree Field is used with the permission of ECT and so there is no ‘as of right use’. There is also no restriction on the number of Village Greens a town may have – for instance Yate has six and Burghfield in Berkshire has seven registered Village Greens.

Who owns a Village Green?

If registration is approved for Lake 104 then the land will remain in the ownership of Cygnet Investments until such time as they choose to sell or transfer to another owner. Registration does not transfer any rights of ownership to either the Village Green applicants or users of the land.

Why shouldn’t Cygnet build on the land

The land around Lake 104 was purchased in 2003 without the benefit of any planning permission and with previous applications having been firmly rejected both by CDC and at appeal. The only uses undertaken on the land were recreational (by local residents), fishing and grazing/hay-making. The land was designated within the Water Park Plan as Zone A & B – for nature and for quiet enjoyment. Purchasing the site with a view to development was speculative but as experienced business people the directors of Cygnet will have been well aware of this.

Isn’t the Environmental Society just opposed to any development?

No! It is worth mentioning that Cygnet also owns the large adjoining plots at Lakes 103, 103a and Milestone House. The Village Green application does not include any of this land and Cygnet would remain free to submit planning proposals. Any new application for this land would need to be judged on its own merits.