Call for conservators to resign after Therfield Heath land swap application refusal

PUBLISHED: 18:43 21 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:43 23 May 2018

The release land at the top of Sun Hill. Picture: David Hatton

The release land at the top of Sun Hill. Picture: David Hatton

David Hatton

Objectors to the application to deregister common land in Royston have called on the Conservators of Therfield Heath and Greens to resign, after the Planning Inspectorate rejected the proposal.

The entrance of the replacement land to the west of New Road in Therfield. Picture: David HattonThe entrance of the replacement land to the west of New Road in Therfield. Picture: David Hatton

The conservators manage the heath and are also trustees of the Therfield Regulation Trust, which owns the 400-acre site.

They submitted an application to deregister heathland near Sun Hill and Briary Lane and replace it with woodland west of New Road in Therfield. It resulted in an eight-day public inquiry, for which the refusal decision was announced on Friday.

Clive Hall, who led the objectors’ panel at the inquiry, told the Crow: “It was the conservators who chose the timing, spent the charity’s money on lawyers, paid experts, and defined their proposal, yet it was still too uncertain to justify the exchange. Had they spent time listening rather than calling people ‘nimbys’ their scheme would have been vastly improved.

“Our heath must be trusted to people who can balance what is right for the neighbourhood and listen to all views. The failure to achieve this balance has resulted in the wasting of our heath’s money, so there must be resignations and a commitment to greater engagement with the community.

“Like the inspector, I recognise the value to the neighbourhood of a hockey ATP and if the Roysia school site or other appropriate site becomes available would like to see the town back a scheme to build one funded by 106 money.”

Don Shewan and Karen Pearson – who sat on the panel of objectors – released a joint statement to the Crow, which said: “Those who opposed the sale of valued open space are very pleased with the inspector’s decision to reject the plan to sell part of our Common Land for housing. We would like to express our thanks for all the help, support and encouragement we received from such a huge section of the public over the past few years.

“We have never understood the conservators’ argument that, to save the heath, you must sell part of it for housing development and then build on yet more of our rare chalk grassland – it is illogical.

“We do understand the funding difficulties that concern our present conservators but feel we should explore other, and better, ways to protect the common.

“Investment of charity money should not be gambled on schemes which have not been fully costed. Flora and fauna on the Therfield Heath SSSI will be compromised if we allow inappropriate development and a dangerous precedent will be set.”

Royston resident Richard Ketteringham said: “Because the public inquiry has turned down selling some of the heath for housing, it does not mean the heath is safe. It makes me sick to think they are still the owners.”

The Crow has contacted the conservators for comment and is awaiting a response.

Related articles


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Royston Crow visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Royston Crow staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Royston Crow account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories


Officers from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Road Policing Unit (BCH RPU) now have the power to seize vehicles that have been untaxed for longer than eight weeks.

Police in the Fens released a tally of hare coursing and related offences from the past two months that include four arrests and 17 vehicles seized.


New locations for services and Christmas-themed activities have been announced for Royston’s parish church after the devastating fire at the weekend.


Christmas has arrived in Ashwell, as hundreds of visitors enjoyed the village’s annual festive celebration.

Most read stories

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Read the Royston Crow e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Royston Crow weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy