VILLAGE Green status for a piece of land that some Marlborough residents want to be protected from future development will be decided at a public inquiry.

Wiltshire Council owned land between Barton Park and College fields will be subject to a three day independent inquiry from January 9 2018.

Campaigners want the four-and-a-half acre area, which is believed to serve around 1000 residents in west Marlborough, to be protected from future development by establishing its status as common land.

Ian Mellor submitted an application in May 2015 backed by 120 resident’s letters and said: “It is used for lots of activities and this is what our evidence will be, it is not made out as a football or children’s playing area but it is an area of grass that is cut and people use it for all sorts of things, there’s dog walking, kite flying and people playing games up there.

“We want to make sure it is retained for future generations and getting village green status will protect the community space.”

The fight to protect the popular area first began after Marlborough College proposed to build 100 new houses and a new building for Preshute School on land it owned near Barton Park.

As Wiltshire Council owns the land proposed to be awarded Village Green status, the council appointed an independent inspector to hold the non-statutory inquiry. The overall decision will be made by the Council but they would need solid legal grounds to reject the inspector’s recommendation. A Spokesman for Wiltshire Council said: “The burden of proof lies on the applicant for registration of a new green.

“The inspector will hear what witnesses have to say and then will make a recommendation to the council as to whether or not the land should be registered as a village green."

The public inquiry is expected to be held in Marlborough.