Housing fears if Colne park land sold to construction boss

THE friends of a Colne park have called on Pendle Council not to sell off part of the park to the boss of a development firm.

Tim Webber, chairman and managing director of Barnfield Construction, wants to purchase a two hectare site of Ball Grove Country Park, with the council valuing the land at around £50,000.

But Mr Webber, who lives near the site, said he only wanted to improve the area for the benefit of everybody who uses it.

Volunteers from the Friends of Ball Grove said they feared the land could one day be developed as housing if it was sold off.

Jerry Stanford, secretary of the group, said they had in the past been a benefactor of Mr Webber and had no reason to doubt his intentions, but were concerned at the long term impacts of any sale.

“The temptation to follow this route is obvious in the current economic climate,” he said.

“Nevertheless the view of the group is firmly that such action will be a hostage to fortune in the long term with the possibility of the descendants of the purchaser being able to overturn covenants, as has happened in this area in the past, and in a different political climate being able to develop in green space.”

Mr Webber said: “I am happy to go along with any measures the council want to put in place to protect the land from development, as that is not my intention at all.

“There is a public footpath there and I don’t intend to change that. I want to work with the friends group to improve this land for the benefit of all of us, and I’m happy to have regular meetings with the group to discuss how to do that.”

Coun Tony Greaves said: “I have a high opinion of Tim Webber and Barnfield, but there are people in Pendle who think Barnfield and the council are far too close.

“Mr Webber lives in this town and is passionate about the area and has a genuine feeling for Colne.

“I understand where the council is coming from but I think we need a greater understanding of what is being proposed.”

Coun Paul White said that a portion of any revenue from the sale of the land should be invested back in to the park to help it retain its Green Flag status.

The issue will be discussed again at Pendle Council’s next executive meeting, with councillors in Colne recommending further discussions take place between the council and Mr Webber before any deal is agreed.

Comments (10)

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4:17pm Sun 12 Jan 14

sean_brfc says...

Sounds completely wrong to me.

First, £50k sounds far too low for 2 hectares, even if development is out of the question.

Second, why does Mr Webber want to own the land? The people of Colne own their parks and if Mr Webber cares about them he could simply donate the money.
Sounds completely wrong to me. First, £50k sounds far too low for 2 hectares, even if development is out of the question. Second, why does Mr Webber want to own the land? The people of Colne own their parks and if Mr Webber cares about them he could simply donate the money. sean_brfc

4:54pm Sun 12 Jan 14

Izanears says...

Coun Tony Greaves said: “I have a high opinion of Tim Webber and Barnfield, but there are people in Pendle who think Barnfield and the council are far too close.
Put the word MANY in front of people Councillor Greaves and you will be nearer the mark. Far too much power is placed in the hands on one company.
Coun Tony Greaves said: “I have a high opinion of Tim Webber and Barnfield, but there are people in Pendle who think Barnfield and the council are far too close. Put the word MANY in front of people Councillor Greaves and you will be nearer the mark. Far too much power is placed in the hands on one company. Izanears

5:05pm Sun 12 Jan 14

tonygreaves says...

Just to be clear - this land is not part of the park but is a Council-owned woodland area that was planted perhaps 15-20 years ago. It is next to the Ball Grove Nature Reserve which is itself next to all Grove Park.

By the way, Ball Grove Park has not got Green Flag status though attempts have been made to do so in recent years.

The Friends of Ball Grove group are about both the park and the nature reserve.

£25000 per hectare is apparently about the right value for amenity land in the area.

The dcecision that the Colne and District Committee made was to ask the Council's Executive to take the matter back to this committee (of all the Colne area councillors after they have negotiaed further with Mr Webber and before they make any decision). Instinctively some of us are unhappy at disposing of Council owned public amenity land (public space). At the least I think we would want to know what his proposals are for the land, what the rights of public access would be, and what safeguards the Friends of Ball Grove and the Council would have in future against inappropriate development or management of the land.

Tony Greaves
Just to be clear - this land is not part of the park but is a Council-owned woodland area that was planted perhaps 15-20 years ago. It is next to the Ball Grove Nature Reserve which is itself next to all Grove Park. By the way, Ball Grove Park has not got Green Flag status though attempts have been made to do so in recent years. The Friends of Ball Grove group are about both the park and the nature reserve. £25000 per hectare is apparently about the right value for amenity land in the area. The dcecision that the Colne and District Committee made was to ask the Council's Executive to take the matter back to this committee (of all the Colne area councillors after they have negotiaed further with Mr Webber and before they make any decision). Instinctively some of us are unhappy at disposing of Council owned public amenity land (public space). At the least I think we would want to know what his proposals are for the land, what the rights of public access would be, and what safeguards the Friends of Ball Grove and the Council would have in future against inappropriate development or management of the land. Tony Greaves tonygreaves

5:25pm Sun 12 Jan 14

Doug Spencer says...

Never like it when Councils' sell off "Council" land. Most land owned by local authorities is actually land held in trust on behalf of the residents. It is the Council Tax payers and previous rates payers who have bought these pieces of land, parks etc. It should not be left for Council officers to sell off any publicly owned property. I would urge the Council Tax payers in the area to lobby their elected representatives (Councillors) and remind them that their job is to represent the residents to the council and NOT represent the council to the residents. It is a BIG difference and something that many so called politicians forget!
Never like it when Councils' sell off "Council" land. Most land owned by local authorities is actually land held in trust on behalf of the residents. It is the Council Tax payers and previous rates payers who have bought these pieces of land, parks etc. It should not be left for Council officers to sell off any publicly owned property. I would urge the Council Tax payers in the area to lobby their elected representatives (Councillors) and remind them that their job is to represent the residents to the council and NOT represent the council to the residents. It is a BIG difference and something that many so called politicians forget! Doug Spencer

5:36pm Sun 12 Jan 14

ron1946 says...

if he buys this land bear in mind barnfield have never had a planning application turned down
if he buys this land bear in mind barnfield have never had a planning application turned down ron1946

6:07pm Sun 12 Jan 14

pdb951 says...

sean_brfc wrote:
Sounds completely wrong to me.

First, £50k sounds far too low for 2 hectares, even if development is out of the question.

Second, why does Mr Webber want to own the land? The people of Colne own their parks and if Mr Webber cares about them he could simply donate the money.
Correct he should donate the money to the fiends of the park. The park is public owned and should stay so
[quote][p][bold]sean_brfc[/bold] wrote: Sounds completely wrong to me. First, £50k sounds far too low for 2 hectares, even if development is out of the question. Second, why does Mr Webber want to own the land? The people of Colne own their parks and if Mr Webber cares about them he could simply donate the money.[/p][/quote]Correct he should donate the money to the fiends of the park. The park is public owned and should stay so pdb951

6:35pm Sun 12 Jan 14

coates warder says...

i thought barnfield ran the council with the deals ive seen go through over the years . most of the time they got every contract. some builders gave up giving quotes as they said even if we were cheaper than barnfield they will still get the job.
its what a lot of people think and say. unfortunatly by giving barnfield most jobs etc thats what the public think
i thought barnfield ran the council with the deals ive seen go through over the years . most of the time they got every contract. some builders gave up giving quotes as they said even if we were cheaper than barnfield they will still get the job. its what a lot of people think and say. unfortunatly by giving barnfield most jobs etc thats what the public think coates warder

7:00pm Sun 12 Jan 14

Horsfield Cllr says...

This land is not for sale, I understand that Tim Webber has asked to buy land that is near to his home. At the end of the day Pendle Council holds this land on behalf of its local citizens, it is Pendle land. We do need to get a grip of what is happening. If the people who voluntarily work this land have concerns then there are definitely concerns. The land's value is irrelevant really. It is woodland and it is ours. Not for Sale.
This land is not for sale, I understand that Tim Webber has asked to buy land that is near to his home. At the end of the day Pendle Council holds this land on behalf of its local citizens, it is Pendle land. We do need to get a grip of what is happening. If the people who voluntarily work this land have concerns then there are definitely concerns. The land's value is irrelevant really. It is woodland and it is ours. Not for Sale. Horsfield Cllr

8:02pm Sun 12 Jan 14

Shane says...

"Property developer" + "spare land" + "buying to protect" these 3 phrases just don't gell
"Property developer" + "spare land" + "buying to protect" these 3 phrases just don't gell Shane

8:38pm Sun 12 Jan 14

ron1946 says...

Horsfield Cllr wrote:
This land is not for sale, I understand that Tim Webber has asked to buy land that is near to his home. At the end of the day Pendle Council holds this land on behalf of its local citizens, it is Pendle land. We do need to get a grip of what is happening. If the people who voluntarily work this land have concerns then there are definitely concerns. The land's value is irrelevant really. It is woodland and it is ours. Not for Sale.
when are you resigning runaway counciler ?
[quote][p][bold]Horsfield Cllr[/bold] wrote: This land is not for sale, I understand that Tim Webber has asked to buy land that is near to his home. At the end of the day Pendle Council holds this land on behalf of its local citizens, it is Pendle land. We do need to get a grip of what is happening. If the people who voluntarily work this land have concerns then there are definitely concerns. The land's value is irrelevant really. It is woodland and it is ours. Not for Sale.[/p][/quote]when are you resigning runaway counciler ? ron1946

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