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No letting up in fight to protect town ‘jewel’

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 11, 2014

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MORE than 250 people made their feelings known at a protest against the proposed development of historic land in Ashby.

Campaigners are battling to protect the Bath Grounds, described as the town’s ‘crown jewel’, which has been home to Ashby Hastings Cricket Club for more than 150 years.

The land is subject to a plan to build five three-storey ‘grand parkland villas’, each with five bedrooms and four bathrooms, with only a fortnight to run on a consultation on the plans.

The latest protest follows the formation of a human chain on the land, off Station Road, in December, while a petition has attracted in excess of 2,000 signatures with campaigners adamant they will not back down.

The Friends of Bath Grounds have issued a renewed rallying cry to the town, warning them they have only days to save the land.

Protesters marched through the town centre towards the grounds, chanting and holding placards aloft.

While anger has been directed towards Oakland Hotels, which owns the land, protesters are also seeking to put pressure on councils who will have the final say on the plans.

For any planning bid to succeed, it would require Ashby Town Council to surrender its lease on the land, and also the authorisation of North West Leicestershire District Council.

Ashby Town Council said it will ‘see what happens’ before making a decision.

Chris Smith, from Friends of Bath Grounds, said the people of Ashby had spoken.

He said: “The demonstration went very well. We assembled on the Bath Grounds and then walked through town, up Market Street and back to the Bath Grounds where the houses are planned to be built. It was a really good event with lots of singing and chanting. The support from members of the public was really encouraging.”

Group treasurer David Bigby added: “More than 95 per cent of the public we have asked are opposed to the development, and over a third of the voting population of Ashby have signed the petition already.”

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