RESIDENTS and college chiefs have come together in a bid to resolve a dispute over a popular playing field.
The land in Moreton Morrell is owned by Warwickshire College Group (WCG) but has been leased to the parish council for nearly 50 years.
It is home to a children’s playground, skate park, football goals and is used by both residents and college students.
But the parish council was offered just a one-year renewal option when the lease came to an end in September prompting much anger among villagers.
The council described the land as a ‘ransom strip’, believing WCG wanted to secure local support for development over an adjacent plot of land it owned.
A planning application for this additional land – worth an estimated £3million – was rejected in 2016 on grounds of design, scale and lack of green space. New planning policies mean the decision can only be overturned with significant backing from the community.
A working group made up of councillors and college chiefs has now been set up in a bid to reach an agreement over the future of the land.
So far the group has discussed villager access to sports facilities, the growth and development of the college and maintaining positive relations between the college and the village.
WCG chief executive Angela Joyce said: “We look forward to strengthening our relationships with the parish council and working together on planning for the future to benefit the local community.
“WCG is heavily invested in ensuring local stakeholders are given the opportunity to be involved in relevant decisions that affect the village, and it has always been our intention to retain the provision of playing field facilities in the village.”
And council chairman Anne Parry added the parish welcomed the opportunity to discuss a way forward, and described the field as a ‘vital community asset’.