A COUNTRYSIDE campaign group has described a court decision relating to land in Weymouth as a ‘black ruling’ for town greens.

The Society for the Protection of Markham and Little Francis lost its battle to re-register the land, also known as Curtis Fields, as a Green to protect it from development.

The Supreme Court ruled in favour of landowners Betterment Properties Ltd. Responding to the ruling, Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, said: “We are dismayed by this decision which gives a green light to developers to grab our village greens.

“It invites them to unpick the laws which were intended to protect land which local people have cherished for recreation, and to challenge whether the land should have been registered as a green. It is particularly worrying that a delay in challenging a decision is held to be acceptable. “This comes on top of recent law changes which make it easier for developers to grab land which is used and loved by local people.

“We commiserate with the Friends of Markham and Little Francis in Weymouth. The group fought a tireless battle and risked large sums of money in defence of their green spaces. We thank them for their persistence on behalf of us all.

“This is a black ruling for village greens, but we shall continue the campaign we have fought for the last 150 years to help people secure their open spaces for informal recreation.”

After the ruling, Betterment said residents will be welcome to continue to use the land until it is required for other purposes.