Council rejects plans to hold public vote over village green

Parish councillors have rejected plans to hold a public referendum over a company’s plans to give Seamer village green a radical makeover.

Seamer Parish Council rejected the Proudfoot Groups proposals to hold the public referendum by five votes to four, at a heated meeting on Tuesday evening.

The move is a critical blow to the group, which hoped to revitalise the village green by spending £140,000 over 10 years to improve access and the children’s play area.

Discussing the proposals before the vote, parish council vice-chairman Hayley Pickles branded an artist’s impression of the changes as “fantasy”, adding that the council “needed to see some proper scale drawings”.

This was scoffed at by Ian Proudfoot, managing director of Proudfoot, who admitted afterwards that the decision was a bitter pill to swallow.

“It’s like when you save up all your pocket money to buy your girlfriend a present, then when she opens it up, she tells you she doesn’t want it.

“Your heart just falls.”

In a statement immediately following the vote, the group said it was “very disappointed” with the decision, adding that the council has “prevented members of the local community from having their say”.

The Proudfoot group had offered to pay the £1,650 quoted for a formal referendum to help gauge public support over the plans, which have divided opinion in the local community.

A previous informal poll of 153 residents carried out by Proudfoot showed that approximately 68 per cent of residents backed changes to the green.

However the plans, and in particular the motives behind them, have been met with scepticism from large sections of the community.

The changes to the green would see a car park built, which would take up aapproximately 15 per cent of the space.

A Facebook group opposing the plans has also attracted hundreds of supporters .