Village green status has been awarded to a community recreation area in the heart of Corby.
Back in May 2012 families living in the Applegarth Close area expressed concern that the green was overgrown and children’s play equipment was falling into disrepair.
Members of the Merestone Road Park Committee decided to do something about it and began a lengthy campaign to obtain village green status for the site.
They made an application to Northamptonshire County Council and after a two-day public inquiry in March, they have been told their bid has been successful.
Chairman of the committee, Lewis Folkes, said: “It was a lengthy process and as we couldn’t afford legal representation, we presented our own case.
“We’re delighted that village green status has been granted and that the recreation area will be safeguarded for the community for years to come.
“It was a team effort and I would like to thank everyone involved, including all the residents who supported the campaign and Corby Irish Centre which allowed us to hold our meetings there free of charge.
“All the hard work has been worthwhile and it has fostered a really good community spirit in the area.”
Mr Folkes, of Applegarth Close, who spent hours researching and compiling evidence to support the application, spoke at the public inquiry, along with other residents.
He said: “I would also like to thank Corby councillors Judy Caine, John McGhee, Chris Stanbra and David Sims, for their backing.
“We always knew that the area could not be built on by developers because that would have been against the local plan, but we wanted to ensure that as a public open space, it was looked after.”
The recreation area is enjoyed by children and dog-walkers and for community events such as summer barbecues.
Residents were able to prove at the public inquiry that for at least 20 years it has provided a place for recreation and pastimes, including kite-flying, golf practice and tennis.
They also highlighted that it was a safe haven for children to play, without the need for them to cross busy roads.
The inquiry concluded that a significant number of people in the neighbourhood used the site for lawful sports and pastimes.