A TOWN council is to make another attempt to purchase green land to prevent any development and give residents “peace of mind”.

Ringwood Town Council is to renew its efforts to purchase a small green area of 0.2 acres at Forestside Gardens, a residential area close to Poulner Junior School.

Members were told at a previous council meeting that the land was again being offered at public auction. The council had previously agreed in principle to try to purchase the land but had been outbid on the last occasion.

At the time the estate was built in the 1960s, the land was left in private ownership as opposed to being sold to New Forest District Council and allocated as public open space in order to avoid maintenance costs.

At a council meeting on Wednesday, March 30, all 17 members of the public present were in attendance to hear the discussion of the land.

Three Forestside Gardens residents spoke in support of the council purchasing the land. They noted that residents had come together more than a decade ago to fund its maintenance and that the space is used regularly by residents and children for recreation.

Salisbury Journal: Land for sale at Forestside Gardens in RingwoodLand for sale at Forestside Gardens in Ringwood

They had also planted trees, now protected by Tree Preservation Orders.

The residents implored the council to purchase the land so that it could be retained as a public amenity in perpetuity. One resident noted that Ringwood was underserved by public open space and that the land was as cheap as it ever would be due to a developer overage.

Councillor Jeremy Heron stated this was an opportunity to protect the land for future generations by bringing it into public ownership.

Cllr Philip Day, meanwhile, had previously voted against the purchase as he felt the prospect of anyone obtaining permission to develop the land was “highly unlikely”. He also believed the valuation should reflect its use as open space, not as a development plot.

However, Cllr Peter Kelleher – a resident of Forestside Gardens since 1998 – explained that there had been several attempts over the years by developers to build on the site.

He said the council was now in a position to support the community to “correct a wrong” and give residents “peace of mind”, rather than having the threat of development hanging over them.

The meeting resolved to bid at the virtual auction of the land on May 19. Being sold by agents Symonds & Sampson, the guide price for the land is £25,000.