Townsfolk call for developers to create common

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A GROUP has called for 100 acres of land to be set aside as new commons ahead of huge development in an East Riding market town.

Beverley already has its famous Westwood – but could now get its Southwood if the proposals by Beverley Renaissance are carried through.

The Government gave the go-ahead this week to the £27m Beverley southern relief road which will open up hundreds of acres of land on the outskirts of town for development. About 800 homes are expected to be built.

Beverley Renaissance, which represents more than 30 organisations, says instead of developers handing over small parcels of land for open space these should be bundled up to create a large open space for recreation.

Renaissance chairman John Bird said: “What our idea was rather than developers putting in lots of little bits of recreational space all over the place we combine them all together and have one significant piece of land.”

Beverley’s three commons – the Westwood, Swinemoor and Figham – were given to the people of Beverley in the 14th century and have been guarded from development since then.

The largest area of commonland in Yorkshire, they have provided Beverlonians with fuel, building materials and recreation.

Now they form an important green belt round the town, while still providing grazing land.

The new common, which could begin south of the leisure centre, and following the line of the railway to the bypass, could be around 100 acres – one-fifth of the size of the Westwood.

Mr Bird said: “We have common land to the east in the form of Swinemoor and Figham, this would be further pasture to the south and it would be called Southwood.

“We thought it was wonderful idea – it could be landscaped sensitively with trees and woodland for recreational purposes.”

The council has said it is willing to investigate the idea which is being considered for a planning blueprint, known as the Local Development Framework.

Mr Bird said: “There’s a long way to go. We shall be consulting with the general public as to what they want and we would be looking towards trying to obtain some funds. It would be the greatest gift we could leave the town for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.”