Local people had used Honiton open space for 50 years

Residents being excluded from decisions.

John Crew (letter, March 23) seems to think councils can simply declare any open space to be a village green. This isn’t true. Littletown Green became a green because local people had used it for more than 50 years – it met the legal requirements to be a green.

Honiton Town Council has been trying to put allotments here since 2006, despite hundreds of residents telling them they want the land kept as public open space. The council responded by obstructing public questioning of its allotment proposals. Residents decided to protect the land by applying to have it registered as a green.

Planning permission for allotments was granted but digging or erecting fences on the land are now criminal offences because it is a registered green.

Councillors insist the land should be used for allotments and include a play area and will meet with East Devon District Council to clarify the legal position. Members of Honiton Allotments Association are invited to this meeting but the town council says that the councillor most qualified to represent the views of those who applied to register the green cannot attend because he is ‘deemed to have a prejudicial interest’.

The Allotment Association has said publicly that dogs should be banned from the green and object to the land being registered as a green. These views are not ‘deemed’ by the town council to be prejudicial.

Residents and those who use Littletown Green are again being excluded from decisions about this land.

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Alan Kimbell

On behalf of the applicants for Littletown Green