Land grab edges closer for Cornard

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AN attempt to buy 23 acres of land priced at more than £200,000 has residents’ backing, according to the manager of the parish council involved.

Great Cornard Parish Council has appointed an agent who is currently negotiating with the owner of the arable land in Prospect Hill with a view to buying the site in order to extend the village’s neighbouring country park.

Michael Fitt, parish council manager, explained that since the Free Press reported the council’s interest last month, three acres had been sold, reducing the guide price to £210,000.

“We are going for it, but obviously we don’t wish to pay over the market price, so we’ve asked an agent to act on our behalf,” he said.

Mr Fitt added that efforts to purchase the land, which would be bought using a combination of loans from central government and grants, have received messages of support from residents.

“We have had a few people contact us saying they hope we do buy the land, otherwise we’ll end up in the same position as with the land at Carsons Drive,” explained Mr Fitt. “It could all be built on and we would join up with Newton Green in one massive sprawl.”

Councillor Mark Newman, who first brought the idea to the council’s attention last month, explained there had been a slight delay in negotiations as the evaluation agent had been unwell.

“As soon as he comes back and says it is worth the valuation, which I know it will be, as I think it is good value, then we can apply for the Government loan which shouldn’t be any problem,” said Mr Newman.

He added that the additional land will virtually double the country park’s current area.

He said: “With all these new houses being built in the area, we need to have more amenity land for people.”

David Smith, director of Percival and Company, the estate agents for the land, declined to comment on the progress of negotiations.