A DURRINGTON park is to be closed after 15 years after the town council could not come to an agreement with its owners.

Millennium Park, next to the A345 in Durrington, has been leased to the town council for the benefit of the community by owners Durrington Square Limited (DSL), but from December 1 the lease is to end, and the land will return to the owners.

Access to the park from this date “is likely to be prohibited to the public”, say the council.

In a letter posted on the Durrington Town Council website, council Chairman John Todd said the owners recently approached the council with a proposal to enter into a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA), which would have seen both sides working to produce a Residential Development Plan for the land.

This would have involved the potential development of around 90 houses on the land, along with the possibility gifting a piece of freehold land to the council for use as a play area.

Cllr Todd said: “After careful consideration and following dialogue with Wiltshire Council Spatial Planning Department, the council opted not to enter into the JVA as it felt it was not in the best interests of the community.

“The council shares the concerns of the community over the future impact that 440 new service family homes in Larkhill may have on the village’s infrastructure, along with the potential for 60 more homes in the village under Wiltshire Council’s Housing Site Allocations Plan.

“The Town Council continues to support infill builds but there is increased pressure on the village’s infrastructure, particularly the road network. Agreeing to the development of more homes would only exacerbate this.”

Over the next two months, the council will be working to return the land to its owners.

The land is currently used for things like dog walking, and events such as Bonfire Night, which thousands of people attend every year.

Cllr Todd added: “The owners are now looking to market the land on a sale or letting basis, but it is unlikely they will gain planning permission for a housing development.

“This is a disappointing outcome for the community, but we will keep residents updated of the owners’ plans when we become aware of them.

“We will do whatever we can to protect the land under its Recreational/Open Space classification.”

The full letter can be viewed at durringtontowncouncil.gov.uk.

Eileen Brownhill wrote on the Facebook post shared by the town council, that included the letter: "How disappointing! The village needs that open space.

"Well done to the Council for trying."

Brian Bragger added:"Well done to the town council for opposing this building plan - this area will be a sad loss to the village.

"Keep trying to maintain this as an open space area."

Diane Horgan wrote: "What a shame. Another dog walking area gone as well as a play area."