COUNCIL chiefs have categorically denied giving their consent for houses to be built on historic land in North West Leicestershire.
Ashby Town Council responded to comments made public by a campaign group following a meeting concerning the future of the town’s Bath Grounds.
The Friends of Bath Grounds claimed that councillors had supported plans to build houses on the land, which it described as the town’s ‘crown jewel’, and home to Ashby Hastings Cricket Club for more than 150 years.
But that was refuted by members of the town council, who insisted they were committed to ensuring the land was transferred to ‘the people of Ashby’.
Bath Grounds, off Station Road, is currently leased to the Royal Hotel by the town council.
The hotel’s owners plan to build five houses on the site, which has also hosted Leicestershire County Cricket Club second XI fixtures.
While town councillors admitted they were powerless to stop that from going ahead, they insisted they had taken action to prevent further substantial building work on the land by opening negotiations to transfer the ownership back to the council, and in turn the people of Ashby.
While councillors stopped short of saying they were making a deal with the owners of the Royal Hotel, it was suggested it would be a conclusion that would satisfy all parties.
Roger Bayliss, chairman of the Parks and Cemeteries Committee at Ashby Town Council, said: “There is a long way to go before this transfer may or may not take place, and to date no planning application has been submitted by the owner of the Royal Hotel.
“It must be made clear that the town council has not surrendered the lease to the Bath Grounds and has until 2023 on the current lease, with the possible renewal for another 28 years.”
Deputy clerk Karen Edwards said: “We want to opposite to what has been suggested.
“We want the grounds handed back to the people of Ashby.
“We are committed to saving the Bath Grounds.”