More than 100 people sign petition to save one of Oundle's hidden gems from possible sale for development

Campaigners believe Fletton Field belongs to Oundle and its residents

Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 1:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 1:22 pm
The vision for Fletton Field in Oundle

More than 100 people have signed a petition to save one of Oundle's hidden gems from possible sale for development.

Fletton Field is one of Oundle’s hidden gems, 0.7 hectares of green space located just off the Glapthorn Road, tucked away behind two residential houses with Abbott House to the north and Oundle School Chapel to the south.

The campaign group, which includes representatives of Oundle School and environmental organisation Transition Oundle, firmly believes this space, which has been recognised as a Local Green Space and registered as an Asset of Community Value, belongs to Oundle.

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Fletton Field in Oundle

Historically, Fletton Field is part of land that was sold to the Guardians of the Poor of the Oundle Union by the trustees of the late John William Smith of John Smith’s Brewery in 1899.

Its use has changed with the needs of the town, first for growing food for the poor, then as a hospital garden for the recovery of the sick and more recently as a recreational ground for children.

Surveys of Oundle residents, taken before the pandemic, have shown that people would like the field to provide various uses, including allotments and/or a community garden, community orchard/mini forest and wild flower areas, garden area with seating and hard pathway to allow for pushchair/wheelchair access, and overflow car parking for when larger events are running in the town.

A draft ‘vision’ for the field has been drawn up based on the findings, and an online petition has attracted more than 100 signatures.

Fletton Field in Oundle is popular with families

The online petition says: "We are a group of Oundle residents who are determined to do our best to keep Fletton Field as an accessible green space for local people to enjoy.

"Parks and green spaces are proven to help people stay physically and mentally well; places where we can all move, breathe, run and play.

"Oundle has considerably less freely accessible green space per person than other comparable towns in Northamptonshire – one tenth that of Raunds and one fifth that of Burton Latimer.

"Losing Fletton Field to development would reduce Oundle’s publicly accessible green space by about 40 per cent, leaving just the recreation ground.

"Northamptonshire County Council applied twice for outline planning permission so the site could be sold for financial gain. Both applications were refused.

"Our aim is to persuade the new unitary authority, North Northamptonshire Council, that Fletton Field should not be sold for development, and that our vision for a managed green space for people to enjoy and benefit from should become a reality."

The former Northamptonshire County Council acquired title to the land under the Local Government Act 1929.

In recent years, two attempts to secure outline planning permission to build on the land were rejected by East Northants Council because there is no alternative equivalent open space to replace it and development would be harmful to the landscape setting.

A spokesman for North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) told the Northants Telegraph in April: “The land is now owned by NNC after the recent local government re-organisation in the county.

“We are currently in the process of reviewing the new asset base and agreeing a new strategy for any surplus sites.”

For more information on the campaign, contact [email protected], go to www.flettonfield.org.uk or search for @SaveFlettonField on Facebook.

To sign the petition click here.