Kate Ashbrook of the Open Spaces SocietyCampaigners battling to save the open ground where cricket legend Ian Botham practised as a boy have passed their first hurdle.

Kate Ashbrook of the Open Spaces Society

Somerset County Council has told the Save Yeovil Rec group that their application to have the land registered as a green is in order. The application will now be advertised and objections invited.

The Open Spaces Society has been active in supporting locals who want to preserve the recreation area from development as a sports centre. They say Yeovil Rec, with its heritage in forming the ex-England all-rounder’s cricketing future, is one of the few remaining open areas within the town.

Botham’s mother Marie Botham, a parish councillor, has been at the forefront of campaign against the plans, drawn up by South Somerset District Council.

Nicola Hodgson, case officer for the OSS, said: “This is a vital first step in the registration process, and it’s wonderful news that the council has accepted the application as ‘duly made’.”

“Now the application will be advertised and we’ll have to see if there are objections. The society, which is the expert on the registration of land as greens, will help Save Yeovil Rec to respond to any objections. We are keen to see this land protected for public enjoyment.

“If the land is registered as a green, it will protect it from development, as it is illegal to encroach upon a green.

“We wish Save Yeovil Rec every success in saving this wonderful open space for everyone to enjoy.”

  • The OSS has also lodged an objection to plans to build a bungalow on common land on Anglesey.

Building on the common, at Llangoed, would prevent the public exercising its right to walk on the land. The society also pointed out that it is unlawful to build on common land without gaining consent from the National Assembly.

Kate Ashbrook, the society’s general secretary, said: “We have explained to Anglesey County Council that it should not grant planning consent for the common when the Assembly is unlikely to give permission to build there. The Assembly does not sanction purely private development on common land.

“The council claims that the applicants hope to have the common removed from the register, but they cannot do this until the law is changed, which may not be for some years. In any case, they cannot guarantee that they will be able to deregister the common and we would certainly oppose such an application.

“This common should remain for people to enjoy, as is their right. Commons are unique areas of land in which there are many interests. We strongly urge the council to reject the planning application and explain to the applicants why common land is special,” Ms Ashbrook added.