PUBLIC land on a local housing estate is likely to be sold to a homeowner in a move that could set a precedent for green spaces in Forres.
Moray Council’s Economic Development, Planning and Infrastructure committee has approved the terms of sale of a 12.5mx6.5m section of a council-owned playing field next to 13 Hilltop Road that stretches round to Earlsland Crescent in Forbeshill.
Council leader George Alexander confirmed neighbours had two weeks to object following notification on May 11.
He added: “The sale is subject to the purchaser obtaining planning consent for a change of use of the land. As far as I can determine, this permission has not yet been sought.”
The applicant plans to erect a 1.5m-high fence into the field, extending the garden by 6.5m x 12.5m.
FCC planning officer Eleanor Hayward raised the issue at May’s meeting of Forres Community Council (FCC).
She said: “It will use up a fair chunk of the public ground there. Moray Council’s gardeners will have to go around the block to maintain the land at either side.”
“I’m disappointed the council planning officers haven’t taken that into account,” added FCC chairman Graham Hilditch. “This leaves the door open to any home owners who want to extend their gardens into common land.”
Mrs Hayward added that FCC had until June 6 to object.
The group’s comments were submitted on May 17: “A site visit was carried out by members of the community council who are of the opinion that selling this portion of ground could set a precedent, not only at this location, but other similar amenity green spaces within Forbeshill. We therefore strongly object to this application.”
Former Forres community councillor Colin Lipscomb lives at neighbouring 12 Hilltop Road.
He said: “The green space is the link between the Hilltop and Earlsland Crescent. As far as I have heard, the general feeling from neighbours is unfavourable. I made an objection based on the reduction of green space.”