New Village Green for Hebden Bridge

The Pem, Oakville Road, Hebden Bridge
The Pem, Oakville Road, Hebden Bridge

A PLOT of land which has been used for recreation for years has been given Village Green status.

The long strip of grass and scrubland is sandwiched between a row of houses and the railway line at Oakville Road, Charlestown, Hebden Bridge.

It was sold by British Rail (Residuary) at an auction in 2008 to Richard Pont, of Pudsey Road, Todmorden, who lives mainly overseas.

He objected to the change of status at an informal inquiry in March last year claiming that only a small part of the land had been used for sports and pastimes, and that other uses had been exaggerated.

Oakville Residents Association produced evidence to show that a considerable number of people living nearby had used the site for least 20 years and continue to do so.

Spokesman Christoph Kratz said the area known locally as The Pen had been used since the 1950s, more recently for bonfires, picnics, as a kick-about area and for tree climbing.

Some residents used it as a hanging area for washing and had created small gardens.

The association used evidence from 51 questionnaires to support their case for a village green which has now been registered by Calderdale Council Licensing Committee.

Mr Kratz said he was delighted at the decision which meant that people could no longer be accused of trespassing.

“We have mowed and strimmed the grass, planted some flowers and generally protected it. We will be holding a party to celebrate.”

Neighbour Maria Howarth said “We don’t want to see any buildings put up, just to preserve what is already there for the benefit of the whole community.”