THIS may look like a car park but bizarrely it is actually classed as a village green.
And Redditch Borough Council’s legal team has now been asked to rule on a dispute regarding who has a rightful claim to the site.
According to documents brought to the attention of local historians the land, together with part of Unicorn Hill and the stretch of pavement along Church Green West, was registered as a village green in 1970 under the Commons Registration Act 1965.
But mystery surrounds why the registration was made due to the unusual shape of the land and the fact it appears it was never used as a village green.
Derek Coombes, from Redditch Local History Society, said: “It’s not your traditional village green, it’s a strange shape and we don’t know how it came to be that area.
“It’s hard to get a clear definition of what the benefit of it being registered as a village green is.”
It is known the building currently occupied by Hemmings estate agent was formerly a house, a pub and then a building used by the armed forces – similar to a Royal British Legion club – and the land outside was used to park horse and carts on. At one stage it appears it was fenced off up until the late 1890s but it is believed the site was purchased by Tom Hemming in 1926 along with the current estate agents building. For at least the last 20 years or more it has been used as a car park and Hemmings insist it is their land.
A spokesman for the company said: “As far as we are concerned we have deeds showing the land belongs to us.”
The site was identified about two to three years ago by Redditch Town Centre Partnership as a ‘dead area’ which was damaging the appearance of the town centre and needed to be improved.
But a spokesman for the TCP said they were waiting for the legal ownership of the land to be clarified before deciding how to proceed in discussion with the land owner.
A complaint has been made to Redditch Borough Council they are failing to maintain the land. A spokeswoman said: “Our legal team are currently working to establish the facts surrounding this case.
This enquiry is ongoing and at the current moment in time we are unable to comment further.”
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