THE transferring of land from a housebuilding company to Shaftesbury Town Council is on hold and may not go ahead, after estate residents raised concerns and a “legal challenge” was presented to Dorset Council by a new community land trust.

Plans for the town council to conduct a community consultation on the use of land at Mampitts Lane on the Maltings Estate, which the town council believed would be transferred over to them from Persimmon Homes, were halted during the council’s Recreation, Open Spaces and Environment Committee meeting last week.

Town clerk Claire Commons suggested the pause because a new community land trust had been formed which had “presented legal action” to Dorset Council to investigate the transfer, causing Persimmon to halt the proceedings.

Town Councillor Peter Yeo, one of the six Maltings estate residents who are unpaid directors of the new Mampitts Lane Community Land Trust CIC (MLCLT), said there was not a legal challenge however, just another body showing interest in the land.

The MLCLT was launched with a mission to use the previously allocated Section 106 funding, around £335,000, to build facilities for the area including a play park and community hall.

“It’s a community interest company, we’ve launched a letter [to Dorset Council] saying we are interested in becoming a nominated body to guarantee that the section 106 agreement from 2007 is fulfilled,” Cllr Yeo explained during the meeting.

“All we have done is write a letter to Dorset Council ensuring we get a community hall and park on that street. I have done nothing improper,” Cllr Yeo told the Journal.

He added: “This money and what it can do should be for the people of the estate.”

Cllr Yeo’s involvement with the trust was met with surprise from fellow members during the meeting, with Cllr George Hall repeating points made and Cllr Phil Proctor questioning why the trust had not been mentioned to the clerk sooner.

Now, either Shaftesbury Town Council or the MLCLT will be nominated by Dorset Council to take ownership of the land and receive funding.

Should Shaftesbury Town Council receive the transfer, plans for a consultation will continue, whereas the MLCLT will focus on a hall and park for the area.

At the beginning of the meeting one of the MLCLT directors and meeting attendee John Hart said the residents of Mampitts Lane do not want Shaftesbury Town Council “taking control” of the land.

A second trust director and Mampitts estate resident, Jon Simpson, added: “I can’t understand why [Shaftesbury Town Council wants] another sort of survey, especially which covers the whole of Shaftesbury, when the money that Persimmon donated was to the actual plot of land on the Mampitt estate.”