Tor Leisure – Fields in Trust

After many years of campaigning by local residents, it now looks likely that the playing fields at the Tor Sports and Leisure complex have finally been saved from the threat of development. Friends of Tor Leisure, a local action group, said they were delighted that the landowner, Mendip District Council, has recently undertaken to protect the open space at the site with the coveted “Fields in Trust” status.

Although not a household name, Fields in Trust is an organisation that protects nearly 3,000 open spaces in the UK. Locally, they already protect many local parks including the Windmill Hill Play Area in Glastonbury and the Mary Bailey Playing Field in Frome. Protection by Fields in Trust ensures that the site can only be used for recreational and leisure purposes, and will also mean that investment can be made into the site – investment that would not have been possible if the site were registered as a “Village Green”.

To this end, the Friends of Tor Leisure have recently requested that Somerset County Council withdraw the Village Green application that was submitted in June 2013 as an interim protection measure against the threat of development earlier that year. The withdrawal of the Village Green application will allow the open spaces to be protected by Fields in Trust, and for investment to start to flow into the site, securing their future as a place for recreation and leisure for future generations.

The Friends of Tor Leisure were established by local residents to protect the playing fields for future generations and will continue to campaign until the future of the fields is secured. A spokesperson for The Friends of Tor Leisure said, “Eight years ago Glastonbury said a resounding ‘no’ to turning Tor Leisure into a housing estate. You have to remember, we’d only just lost the Fair Field a few years before – so we were united that we had to save this one.” “In the beginning we were opposed by both the Town and District Councils,” they continued, “but thankfully the tide eventually turned, and the current and previous Town Councils have been invaluable supporters in the fight to save Tor Leisure. And even the current Mendip District Council have finally come on board! Without their help, we just wouldn’t be where we are today.”

The spokesperson added, “Fields in Trust would be a victory for the townspeople of Glastonbury, and we would be delighted if the withdrawal of the Village Green Application was successful. We would then be sure that generations to come would be able to enjoy these invaluable open spaces.”