26th April 2012
WEYMOUTH: Marsh cannot be built on, say campaigners
Celebration after discovery of covenant
By Harry Walton
JUBILANT campaigners say they have found a covenant which protects land at Weymouth’s popular Marsh area from any future move to redevelop it or build houses on the site.
Recent debate in Weymouth and Portland council’s management commit- tee narrowly refused to back submitting the Marsh for designation as a Queen Elizabeth II playing field because of “queries” including its potential "future development”.
But residents fighting to keep the Marsh as playing fields say there can be no future development such as housing because of what they found when they checked records going back nearly half a century.
Leading campaigner Michael Wheller said: “We have discovered a Deed of Covenant dated June 6th, 1964 between the National Playing Fields Association and “The Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of the Borough of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis restricting the use of land to that of a Playing Field”.
“The document runs to five pages, is extremely specific and contains official seals signed by the council’s then Mayor Sid Porter and Town Clerk E.J.Jones.
“It also includes a plan specifying the playing field area involved and outlining it in colour to ensure there would be no misunderstanding about which area was being referred to.
“This takes the protected area at the Marsh completely out of council hands as far as future development is concerned because they have no right to even consider that land for development when they themselves agreed 48 years ago that it should only ever be used for playing fields.”
Co-campaigner Ann Axenskold said it was not the first time the council had had potential development of the Marsh in its sights and in 1985 it first supported and then opposed proposals by Carter Commercial Developments to use the land for a new Weymouth football stadium, a nightclub and housing.
She added: “This same covenant was raised then and now seems to have been conveniently forgotten.
“In the mid-1980s my father Frank Brown was very active in securing this land as playing fields for future generations of Weymouthians.
“This covenant should have been known about by the present council who ought to honour and respect their agreement rather than quietly forgetting about it.”
Mr Wheller said: “We hope that public knowledge of this covenant will now ensure that the Marsh is safe for future generations and need never fear development again since the NPFA, now Fields in Trust, has assured us that the covenant will be upheld by them.”
PICTURE: JUBILANT Michael Wheller and Ann Axenskold with the covenant
There are no comments yet. Be the first to add one below.
Add new comment
The code you entered was incorrect, please try again
Return to news headlines