MORE than 100 people gathered to form a ‘human chain’ around an historic site earmarked for development.
The Friends of the Bath Grounds were at the beauty spot to showcase the group’s opposition to plans to build houses on the site, and joined hands to form a chain where the homes would cut the Bath Grounds in two.
The group also used the protest to try to whip up a groundswell of support for improving the ‘care and attention’ given to the site.
Dave Simkins, from the Friends of the Bath Grounds, said: “The Bath Grounds are a unique asset for the town, much used by the people of the town.
“Building these houses would deprive the town of a large section of the Bath Grounds, as well as destroying the quality of the grounds.
“This is an historic area, running from the site of the Ivanhoe Baths to Ashby Castle, which should be preserved at all costs.”
Oakland Hotels is proposing to build five three-storey ‘grand parkland villas’, each with five bedrooms and four bathrooms.
As well as opposing the development during Saturday’s protest, the Friends of the Bath Grounds was keen to promote the long-term future of the area.
Clare Birch, a leading member of the group, said: “We believe that much more could be done to improve the care and attention given to the Bath Grounds – the landscaping, the planting and facilities for young and old.
“The Bath Grounds are a precious resource for the people of the town, well used and regarded as a beauty spot right in the heart of the town centre.
“Other towns envy what we have here in Ashby. They should be treasured.”
The Bath Grounds are owned by Oakland Hotels, but leased to Ashby Town Council for at least 10 years.
To build the houses, Oakland Hotels will need planning permission – but also the agreement of the town council to surrender its lease.
The Friends of the Bath Grounds is urging the council to refuse to surrender its lease.
More information about the group and its aims can be found by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org