Views sought on latest move in play field dispute

The play field at Ingham has been subject to a wrangle between the land owners and the parish council over the expired lease
The play field at Ingham has been subject to a wrangle between the land owners and the parish council over the expired lease
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A village is being asked if it wants to accept a land owner’s proposal to end a dispute over its play field.

Both Ingham Parish Council and the field owner Sally Spittle say negotiations turned acrimonious. But now the Spittles are offering to give part of the site to the village a if the parish supports a low density housing development on the other part.

Mrs Spittle’s grandmother gave the village a 30-year peppercorn lease on the field behind St Bartholomew Church, which expired in 2002.

In a letter to villagers seeking views, parish chairman Vic Blackwood said: “When the lease initially expired a new one was requested but could not be obtained.

“When a notice to quit was eventually received, the land owner included the possibility of a new least but under punitive terms.”

The letter says an agreement was reached with Mrs Spittle but when planning law changed the lease offer was ‘summarily withdrawn’ and contacts became acrimonious. It says the land was fenced off, with styles, and a horse is grazed on part.

Mrs Spittle said this week that the council wanted a 90 or 99 year lease and the familydid not want to tie land up so long.

On the deal she added: “It was offered before and their response was they would compulsorily purchase the land. Acrimonious? Well...”

She says the parish admits to having poor records on the matter and disputes the parish’s claim to still have rights to the land under the old lease.

“We’ve been banging our heads on a brick wall with them,” she said. “We’ve done everything we can to accommodate them.”

Proposal details are at http://ingham.onesuffolk.net