Southbank Avenue - land ownership bungle by CEC

A piece of land near a Shavington school has become an overgrown wilderness – because Cheshire East Council did not realise they owned it, writes Belinda Ryan.

Grass on the site outside Shavington Primary Academy on Southbank Avenue is about five feet tall and overgrown with weeds.

But no one at the council would accept responsibility.

Shavington resident Nigel Wheeler told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “I don’t think it’s been cut for about 18 months.

“I emailed Cheshire East Highways and they replied saying the matter was closed, it wasn’t their responsibility.”

The land used to be maintained by Shavington Primary School before it became an academy.

But when Cheshire East transferred the site to the newly-formed academy in 2015 it didn’t include the land outside.

Shavington councillor David Marren (Ind), who was contacted by Mr Wheeler, says it was obvious that if the council was responsible for the land before the school became an academy and it didn’t transfer it to the academy, it is still responsible now.

He said he had contacted Ansa – the council’s wholly owned company which is responsible for grounds maintenance as well as waste and recycling – but Ansa had also denied responsibility for the site.

He also suggested the council speak to its education department to see if they could sort the issue.

“Departments don’t seem to resolve things between them, they just answer for themselves,” said Cllr Marren.

“So the very fact Ansa can say ‘it’s not us’ and highways can say ‘it’s not us’, doesn’t mean it’s not the council!

“And you would expect there to have been some talking between departments because that’s what’s expected by residents.

“There seems to be no sorting out of a problem.

“The resident contacted highways and they’ve said it’s not us but that doesn’t mean the problem has gone away and it is still a Cheshire East problem.

“That can’t be the right sort of approach.”

Shavington Primary Academy provided the LDRS with a copy of the 2015 lease, which shows the land in question was never transferred to the academy.

The council has now admitted it is responsible for the land.

A Cheshire East Council spokesperson said: “Our research has revealed that the land is not, after all, within the curtilage and ownership of the academy, but is in fact within the ownership and responsibility of the council.

“The council will therefore make arrangements for the land to be maintained by the council in the future.”

One Comment

  1. maggie izzard says:

    Plant it with typical country trees and make it accessible when fully grown.

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