A RETIRED teacher who is fighting a land dispute in the High Court is urging others to seek ownership of ‘unloved’ open spaces.
Jonathan Adamson, 61, of Cemetery Road, Edgerton, has been in the High Court this week in a last-ditch attempt to safeguard Clayton Fields from development.
The hearing came after Clayton Fields Action Group saw a key decision go against them at the High Court in August, paving the way for site owners Paddico (267) Ltd to build 55 houses on the fields.
The land – which stretches from Halifax Road down to Birkby – was granted village green status in 1997, but this was successfully overturned on the technicality that the area was not one locality.
But Mr Adamson (pictured), who qualifies for legal aid, took on the case and is asking the Court of Appeal to overturn High Court judge Mr Justice Vos’s ruling that the land should never have been registered as a town green and thereby protected from development.
Mr Adamson told the Examiner: “Clayton Fields’ case has been heard this week after a similar appeal about a case in Weymouth.
“One of the issues in dispute is whether the area of the fields is a ‘locality’ because it sits in between Edgerton and Birkby.
“We have now established that the area was once listed as a parish of Holy Trinity Church but it is very late for this information to be introduced and it may not even be permitted to be introduced.”
Mr Adamson, who taught art history at Camberwell College of Arts, London, for many years, said he hoped Clayton Fields could stay in public use because it such a valuable community space. He added: “It seems there are a lot of spaces like Clayton Fields in Huddersfield. I have been working with other groups and a special forestry officer and there is scope for others to take on a custodian role of open spaces.
“The Clayton Fields Action Group is a very fine example of that.
“While they were campaigning although I wasn’t involved, I watched from afar.”
He said Highfields playing fields, Greenhead College boundary, and Cemetery Road were all areas where work has been carried out to plant fruit trees and improve the ‘unloved’ areas of land.
Earlier, Bill Magee, chairman of the Clayton Fields Action Group, and fellow member David Bowen, fought a five-day High Court case against Paddico (267) Ltd.
The land was owned until 2005 by George H Haigh Builders, who tried unsuccessfully to develop the land over several decades.
A decision on the land at Clayton Fields is expected to be at least six weeks after the hearing.