A COMMUNITY group has lodged a bid to save a patch of well-known farmland in Lower Bemerton from possible future development. 

The Broken Bridges Trust wants Fitzgerald Farm, commonly known as Broken Bridges, to be listed by Wiltshire Council as an Asset of Community Value (ACV). 

If something is listed as an ACV, communities can ask the council to list certain assets as being of value to the community.

If an asset is listed and then comes up for sale, the new right will give communities that want it six months to put together a bid to buy it. This gives communities an increased chance to save much loved shops, pubs or other facilities.

Fitzgerald Farm is located on Lower Road at Lower Bemerton with the much-used Broken Bridges footpath running through the land which provides an important connection from Lower Bemerton to Harnham. 

In recent years, the land has barely been used aside from a few grazing cattle.

Councillor Jeremy Nettle said: “The owner is looking to sell at some point. If the asset of community value is accepted, we will then protect it and then maintain the area.”

Salisbury Journal: At Broken BridgesAt Broken Bridges (Image: Karen Perry)

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The Trust says the land has a considerable nature conservation value along with the historic use as drowned water meadows.

It covers 13 hectares (33 acres) of floodplain and includes a variety of habitats from floodplain meadows, wood pasture and woodland with small island and backwaters along the river.

Cllr Nettle said: “We completed this application before we saw the Wiltshire Council Local Plan but the local plan is a cause for concern.

“We should know the result in January 2024 and then, we would have six months to raise funds and to see what we would like it used for. There are some protected species there.”

He added: “We are talking to Salisbury City Council and Wiltshire Council first, but we may look at crowdfunding or lottery funding.”

If the community value application goes through, the land is likely to remain a valuable green space for walkers, residents and for wildlife.