A “GREAT sense of relief” is felt by residents in Ringwood after the town council succeeded in purchasing green land to prevent development and preserve amenity.

Ringwood Town Council bought a small green area of 0.2 acres at Forestside Gardens, a residential area close to Poulner Junior School, for £27,000 at a virtual auction in April after a very small bidding war.

When Forestside Gardens was built in the 1960s, the green 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.

Residents had long implored the council to purchase the land so that it could be retained as a public amenity in perpetuity.

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

Responding to this, and at the urge of Forestside Gardens resident and town councillor Peter Kelleher, town clerk Chris Wilkins purchased the land for £2,000 over the guide price of £25,000 set out by agents Symonds & Sampson after another bidder entered the fray.

Chris said: “I opened the bidding at the guide price, somebody else then bid £26,000. I then bid £27,000 and the land was knocked down to me at that price. The price was within the bidding limit agreed by members when they resolved to renew the effort to buy the land.”

Cllr Kelleher – a resident since 1998 – said the purchase “closed the chapter” on resident concerns after several attempts by developers to build on the site over the years.

Salisbury Journal: Planning document for land at Forestside Gardens. Picture: Symonds & SampsonPlanning document for land at Forestside Gardens. Picture: Symonds & Sampson

He said: “I went round knocking on doors last Sunday to let people know and there was a great sense of relief. Residents really were delighted that we had secured the protection of the land and knowing we no longer need to go through the stresses of possible development.

“This open space is for people to use, young children to play on, pets to run and all sorts. I’m just delighted that we’ve closed the chapter on something which has kept us busy for years and it will bring a lot of joy to residents.”

The land will be officially signed over to Ringwood Town Council on Monday June 20, 2022.


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