Campaigners reinvigorate bid to save one of Oundle's hidden gems from possible sale for development

The group firmly believes Fletton Field belongs to Oundle and its residents

Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 10:03 am

Campaigners have reinvigorated their bid 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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The vision for 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, scout/brownie/multi-use hut, some open space for small outdoor events and education sessions, 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.

Fletton Field in Oundle

Campaign leader Camilla Sherwin said: "Most of the open space within Oundle’s boundaries is privately owned and public access to it is increasingly limited.

"Compared to other local towns of its size, Oundle has much less publicly accessible green space and losing Fletton Field would reduce it by a further 40 per cent.

“The Covid pandemic has reminded us of the value of green space - for exercise and fresh air, for health and well-being, and once it has disappeared, getting it back is nearly impossible.

"We have a created a vision for the field, based on public survey, and we want to see it become a reality.”

Fletton Field in Oundle

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: “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.

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