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Councillor's call for village green status

A Middlesbrough Councillor is seeking views from the local community over moves to secure the long-term future of a popular green space.

Councillor Mieka Smiles is hoping to get certified village green status for the site opposite The Avenue shops in her Nunthorpe ward. 

While there are no current plans to develop the site, the change of status would protect it against future applications.

In order to succeed, it must be demonstrated that a significant number of local residents for leisure and other activities for at least 20 years.

Councillor Smiles said: "The play area and park opposite The Avenue shops is a focal point for the local community, and village green status would ensure it is retained in its entirety for future generations.

"It's much loved by the local community as an important venue for events, as well as somewhere to walk the dog, go for a run, play or simply just enjoy some fresh air and relaxation.

"But if we're to guarantee its long term future, we need to hear from local people how they use it and why it matters to them."

Once a site is registered as a village green, it becomes a criminal offence to:

  • Undertake any act which interrupts its use or enjoyment as a place for exercise and recreation or to cause any damage to it
  • Drive over it without lawful authority and in certain other circumstances
  • Enclose or encroach on it, or interfere with, disturb or build on it, unless this is done ‘with a view to the better enjoyment of such town or village green'

As the land is currently owned by Middlesbrough Council, any decision on the future of the site will rest with the local authority.

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston, who visited the site to hear Cllr Smiles outline her proposal, said: "Green spaces like this are important to local communities for all sorts of reasons, and I'm committed to protecting them wherever I can.

"This one next to The Avenue is a great example, and is clearly popular and well used.

"But we need to hear from the local community in support of this proposal, so I'd urge people to make their voices heard if they want to protect it for the future."

Anyone with views on the village green proposal for The Avenue shops play area at Nunthorpe is asked to contact Cllr Smiles via email to Mieka_Smiles@middlesbrough.gov.uk or visit the Nunthorpe Matters Facebook page