Town Mayor fears for future of De Aston Field

Market Rasen’s Mayor fears land the town council has long wanted to buy for residents’ recreational use has been earmarked for housing.

Mayor Steve Bunney told the Rasen Mail this week that negotiations to buy De Aston Field, off Willingham Road, from Lincolnshire County Council were going nowhere because the county authority had priced the land as if it was suitable to develop.

The land has been valued by West Lindsey District Council, acting on behalf of the town council and the county council. The county council has put a price tag of around £90,000 on the field, but Coun Bunney said the land without development is only worth half that.

Coun Bunney said: “The county council will not sell it unless we pay £20,000 an acre.

“If you value it as purely recreational it is worth £45,000, but if you value it as recreational land to develop it is worth a lot more. As soon as you put a building up the value doubles. West Lindsey and Lincolnshire County Council have been talking quite a bit and the impression is that Lincolnshire County Council is looking to build on it and I fear it could be housing.

“We will be asking Burt Keimach, as our county councillor, to work on our behalf.”

But if the dispute is not solved quickly the town council may not have the money to buy the land at all.

Coun Bunney said the town authority has around £90,000 Section 106 money to develop a recreational facility for Market Rasen but that he wants some money left to utilise the land after purchase.

Some of the money 
is time locked and Coun Bunney said “there is a good chance half the money will disappear in July if it is not sorted out.”

But Lincolnshire County Council officers have said they are happy to sell the land to the town council at the right price.

Officers said they had a duty to the taxpayer to get the best value and that there were no plans to develop De Aston Field.

Kevin Kendall, Chief Property Officer at Lincolnshire County Council, said:“We received an independent valuation of the land and have put forward a proposal to the local authority for them to purchase as much of the land as they can afford, using the Section 106 money that is available to them.

“We are currently awaiting their response.”

A spokesman for WLDC said: “West Lindsey District Council is working with both Lincolnshire County Council and Market Rasen Town Council to try and find a solution which is acceptable to both parties, which will allow for the expenditure for the section 106 money.”