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Barton Long Meadow receives village green status

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A BARTON meadow has been officially recognised as a village green in a bid to protect it from development and boost wildlife.

Long Meadow, which is accessed via Becton Lane and Grove Road, has been granted the status by Hampshire County Council – almost 11 years after campaigners first applied.

The site adjoins Barton Common and is owned and managed by New Milton Town Council, offering a wildlife haven for birds and animals.

Bob Lord at Barton Long Meadow
Bob Lord at Barton Long Meadow

Barton resident Bob Lord has worked with the town council to establish the village green status.

He said: “People may wonder why Long Meadow needs village green status, but it is really just an extra layer of protection against unwanted development.

“Nowhere is sacrosanct and, sadly, if development is seen to be in the wider public interest then wildlife is expendable.”

An initial application to register the area as a village green was made by the Friends of Long Meadow in 2011 in response to controversial town council plans to erect a small children’s play area.

The play area was built a decade ago after a community consultation, but the application for village green status was only considered by Hampshire County Council in October 2021.

Mr Lord said: “The original application was made by Tony Woolfe but he no longer lives in Barton, so he got in touch to see if I’d be happy to take it on.”

After discussions between Mr Woolfe, Hampshire County Council and New Milton Town Council, it was agreed that the original application would be withdrawn and replaced with a new request directly from the town council as the landowner.

This was subsequently ratified in March when Long Meadow received village green status under the 2006 Commons Act.

Mr Lord said: “It could be that the enhanced status means we could hold community events like fetes or small music festivals, and it also affords an extra layer of protection for people and wildlife.

“It would still be possible to develop the meadow but would have to be shown to be in the public interest – so in reality the status would probably not have stopped the play area.”

Although the Friends of Long Meadow has now disbanded, Mr Lord will continue to work with local volunteers to enhance the area, with a wildflower seeding morning planned for 9th April. For more information contact him on 07905 249587.

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