Published: 09/02/2018 08:55 - Updated: 06/02/2018 09:46

FCC objects to selling off public property

Hilltop gardenA LOCAL watchdog group is objecting to a private move to grab public land on a housing estate.

Forres Community Council (FCC) submitted an objection to a proposal from the owners of 13 Hilltop road, Forbeshill, to buy a 12.5m x 6.5m section of a playing field behind the address that stretches round to Earlsland Crescent.

FCC secretary Eleanor Hayward confirmed the community councillors were unanimous in their decision.

She said: “It would be like selling off the family silver. The sale would set a precedent for other home owners to use up common green space.”

Other members backed her up at December’s FCC meeting in the Tolbooth.

“It’s a public right of way,” said David Parker. “It’s been that way since the seventies.”

Alan Tissiman said: “Selling off land in piecemeal could have a cumulatively negative effect on the greater good.”

“Moray Council would get the sales revenue but would still have to pay for maintenance of 95 per cent of the remaining land,” added chairman Graham Hilditch.

“We must protect our green spaces,” added David Parker. “There hasn’t been a planning application as such so the Estates department can sell anyway if there is no change of use.”

Former community councillor, Colin Lipscomb, lives at 12 Hilltop Road.

He said: “The land should be left as a thoroughfare. It is used for recreational purposes including dog walking and children playing. It would be wrong to sell off the narrowest part of the land, which would create a bottleneck.”

A Moray Council spokeswoman for Moray Council explained that the local authority receives many applications from homeowners to purchase amenity land and has a well-established procedure to deal with them.

She said: “Part of this is a consultation exercise following the agreement of a provisional deal.

“During this consultation, there were objections received and, at the applicant’s request, this application will now be reported to Moray Council’s Policy and Resources Committee in March for a decision.”

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