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Protest against the possible sale of ‘community asset’ in Anston

Protestors at Rackford Meadows
Protestors at Rackford Meadows

A sit in protest was held at the last meeting of Anston Parish Council after it was revealed a 32 acre piece of land could be sold.

The main item on the agenda was to discuss the possible sale of 32 acres of community amenity land at Rackford Meadows in North Anston.

And when the public were asked to leave the room, they refused.

Coun Jonathan Ireland, North Anston parish councillor, said: “During the public session, one resident asked ‘can this council guarantee that if the field is sold it will not eventually be used as a fracking site? This council cannot sell the land, it is our field’. An answer was not forthcoming.

“Parish councillor Thornton proposed the discussions to go into a secret confidential session and this was voted upon and was passed to go into secret. But when the chairman asked the public to leave they refused and said ‘we are not going anywhere until we hear what is happening to our field’.”

Coun Drew Tarmey, chairman of Anston Parish Council, said: “A special council meeting was called for councillors to spend some time discussing a range options for the future management of the land.

“The council has no plans to sell Rackford Meadow which was purchased by the previous administration with a loan from the public works loan board.

“One or two councillors have asked if a sale is possible, but they are not in the majority and the council has never made the decision to sell.

“The suggestion that we wish to allow fracking on the land is completely unfounded and the council recently voted unanimously not to allow fracking surveys on parish land.

“The land in question is in the green belt, next to a site of special scientific interest, contains serval public rights of way and adjoins the local sewage works – it is neither an attractive nor a viable site for property developers.

“The council was unable to reach a decision at the meeting because members of the public, including former councillors, refused to leave the meeting when contractual and financial matters were to be discussed.”

Coun Ireland added: “This field is used extensively by dog walkers, mountain bikers and ramblers and is a huge community asset.

“All the people of Anston want is a say in the future of community assets such as Rackford Meadows.”