De Aston Field WILL remain an open space

After many years of uncertainty, Market Rasen’s De Aston field has been secured for the town with its purchase by the town council.

The land in Willingham Road, owned by Lincolnshire County Council has been in the spotlight over the past few years, with issues of flooding, possible developments and other uses all coming to the fore.

But now, after a lot of negotiation, the land will stay as open space with the transfer of ownership to the town council.

“I am pleased to say the purchase of the full site is progressing, although it is at the higher price,” said town mayor Stephen Bunney.

“But I feel it was worth spending the extra money to secure the purchase, otherwise we could have lost the field or the money or both.

“I am, however, disappointed that Lincolnshire County Council couldn’t see their way to sell the land at a slightly reduced price; their protocol to maximise their assets does not work for the good of the locals.”

The land totals four acres and will be split, with one acre providing a cemetery extension.

The other three acres will be used as an adult friendly open space, with the emphasis being on the adult, rather than a child-orientated area.

And although the town council had to pay more than they had wanted for the land, it still leaves them with £20,000 to spare.

“We now need to look at working with other organisations to ensure we get an asset that can be used by the whole town,” added Coun Bunney.

As reported previously in the Market Rasen Mail, the money to buy the land, around £90k, is part of the Section 106 pot held by West Lindsey District Council on the town’s behalf. The money was given by developers in Market Rasen to provide recreation facilities.

Some of this money - around £42,000 - would have been withdrawn and lost to the town if it wasn’t spent by this month.

Flooding has been a continuous problem with the site over the years and earlier this year the gardens of houses in Willingham Road backing on to the site were once again affected.

At that time, residents were informed by the county council that some £20,000 worth of work was needed to improve drainage and it would be the responsibility of whoever bought the land.

Coun Bunney will be making the official announcement of the purchase at the full meeting of the council tonight (Wednesday) in the Festival Hall Committee Room.

The meeting starts at 7pm and, as always, there will be a session of public participation.