Village green plan is thrown out in secret

An investor aiming to improve a village green has hit out at a parish council decision to reject the plans – which was taken behind closed doors.

An investor aiming to improve a village green has hit out at a parish council decision to reject the plans – which was taken behind closed doors.

Members of the press and public were excluded from a meeting of Seamer Parish Council – as members secretly voted to reject an offer of £185,000 from the Proudfoot Group to maintain and develop The Green for the next 10 years.

The parish council decision, and the way the issue had been handled, was greeted with “dismay and outrage” by the Proudfoot Group which wanted to give something back to the commuity.

The company’s plan to improve the area for villagers, particularly families, included a new drystone perimeter wall, playground equipment, planting, footpaths – as well as 11 shared-use parking spaces.

A spokesman for the company said: “We are very disappointed that the parish council has decided to reject our exciting and beneficial proposals.

“Seven months ago it was the parish council who asked our company to undergo a public consultation on our improvement proposals which resulted in a 70 per cent support rate.”

The press and public were excluded from the parish council meeting when it rejected the improvements. “It must be said that the parish council has led us up the garden path,” said the Proudfoot spokesman.

The company said the village friends’ group offer would be an asset for the village – it had hoped they could have worked together if the offer had been accepted – but the company feared the group would not have the capital behind it to open up The Green to people of “differing abilities and ages” by installing the high quality footpaths, disabled facilities and new safer play equipment.

The Proudfoot Group had undertaken a public consultation exercise – at the behest of the parish councillors.

It revealed a large majority of people in support of the plan, with 70 per cent saying Yes. More than 150 parishioners had responded but the parish council said the sample was not large enough and claimed it would carry its own survey but that has not happened.

A Seamer Parish Council spokesman said there was nothing “sinister” about its stance. He said the offer from the friends’ group had been accepted. “It’s an historic village green and they wanted to look after it. They want to maintain and enhance what’s there.”

For more information, please visit www.proudfootsupermakets.com