Deal struck to transfer Cherry Orchard park to Hardingstone Parish Council

A Hardingstone park's future has been secured after it was agreed to transfer it from the borough to the parish council.

Saturday, 25th January 2020, 2:34 pm
Updated Saturday, 25th January 2020, 2:36 pm
Hardingstone Parish Council will take control of Cherry Orchard Park

The cabinet of Northampton Borough Council finally brought to an end a six-year wait on Wednesday (January 22) by agreeing to the Community Asset Transfer of Cherry Orchard park to Hardingstone Parish Council.

The decision to transfer the park had been first agreed by the cabinet back in February 2014, with debate since then focusing on whether the transfer should be on a freehold or leasehold basis.

Now it has been confirmed the freehold will be transferred for £100, and it means restrictions will be placed on the title and a covenant will be placed to ensure the land remains used as public open space for community use.

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The transfer was agreed by Northampton Borough Council's cabinet

Speaking as the deal was agreed the borough council's cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, Councillor Tim Hadland, said: "This is localism at its absolute purist, with a local facility now being controlled by local people.

"The future of the land will be guaranteed and it will be in fine hands, and I know it's something that will be welcomed by the local community."

Northampton Borough Council will continue to cut the grass until June 2028 in order to uphold its contract with Veolia, after which the parish will also assume control over grass cutting.

The transfer also ensures that the borough council retains the right to acquire the site back at the same price of £100 should the parish council ‘no longer require the land to be held for public open space for community use’.

The borough council will continue to cut the grass until 2028 though when the Veolia contract runs out

The deal is only subject to advertisement to allow members of the public opportunity to comment on the transfer, which is legally required. Should any objections be received then the matter would come back before the Conservative cabinet.

Deputy leader Councillor Phil Larratt, who represented Hardingstone as a county councillor from 2009 to 2017, also welcomed the news. He said: "When I was a county councillor for the area this was a burning issue, and I'm very pleased it has finally happened. I just hope that it will be the first of many coming before us over the next few months."