|Save Leggatts Playing Fields and path|
The area of Leggatts Playing Fields has been accessible for the community for as long as anyone can remember. Up to the 1930's it was allotments.
When the Harebreaks Estate was built it was realised that a secondary school would be needed in the area, so Watford Borough Council sold an area of land adjacent to Leggatts Way to Hertfordshire County Council for Leggatts Way School to be built. This land had a covenant that it could only be used for education purposes. Leggatts Way school opened in 1934.
In the late 1950's Watford Borough Council sold the remaining land, which was being used for allotments, to Hertfordshire County Council and this became Leggatts Playing Fields for the school to use. The previous access to the allotments from Harebreaks Wood remained.
In the early 1970's Hertfordshire County Council built Cherry Tree School, which used the playing fields for sport and recreation.
Leggatts School closed and in 1990 it was converted and extended for
West Herts College and in a partnership Watford Borough Council and
Hertfordshire Council converted the old gym and music block and built
a sports hall to create the Bill Everett Community Centre. In 1992
the college became independent from HCC and the playing fields were
given to the college corporation. To mark the boundary between the
playing fields and Cherry Tree Primary School boundary markers/signs were
erected. See the image below.
2005 Hertfordshire County Council gave itself planning permission to
erect a 2 metre high palisade fence along, quoting the application,
“the western boundary” . Assurance was given that the boundary of
the school and the subsequent fence would not compromise the kissing
gate from the woods.
In 2005 West Herts College decided to close its Leggatts Campus and subsequently sold the land including the playing fields to Taylor Wimpey. This was made possible by Watford Borough council releasing the 1930's Covenant for a large sum of money and replacing it with a new Covenant covering the playing fields. The Mayor declared :
Watford Borough Council also decided to withdraw from the agreement with HCC and close the Bill Everett Community Centre
was promptly followed by the playing fields being boarded up and
later the kissing gate from Harebreaks Wood was barricaded.
The Taylor Wimpey planning statement here says this
This was subsequently accepted by the Inspector's decision here which says :
Watford Borough Council failed to insist on this part of the application and so the playing fields have not been transferred to the council.
Perhaps you would like to complain to your local councillor or the Mayor about this.