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Fair Green owner accused of being greedy

PUBLISHED: 08:45 07 May 2010 | UPDATED: 11:32 12 July 2010

The owner of an historic green in Diss was accused of being “greedy” this week after turning down a community bid to buy Fair Green.

The four-acre site, which has hosted fun fairs and circuses for centuries, was put up for sale after town leaders declined to take on the responsibility of maintaining access roads.

The owner of an historic green in Diss was accused of being “greedy” this week after turning down a community bid to buy Fair Green.

The four-acre site, which has hosted fun fairs and circuses for centuries, was put up for sale after town leaders declined to take on the responsibility of maintaining access roads.

But officials from the Fair Green Neighbourhood Association spoke of their disappointment after the Diss Parochial Charity, which owns the registered village green, rejected their offer.

The residents' group had placed a formal bid of £40,000 to try and secure the future of the 600-year-old site and prevent it from being sold to the highest bidder at an auction.

But the parochial charity trustees refused the offer, which was £5,000 short of the asking price, after seeking advice from agent TW Gaze.

Rachel Baker, chairman of the Fair Green Neighbourhood Association, said householders were “unanimously” in support of buying Fair Green. However, the future of the green space looked set to be determined by an auction in the summer.

“FGNA is extremely disappointed with the parochial charity's rejection. We made a good offer which we would have raised if we had been asked to negotiate. We were not.”

“It does look like the charity is insisting on an auction through pure greed. It appears that the charity does not care about the future of this amenity for the benefit of Diss, just who has the most money to spend,” she said.

Meanwhile, Diss Town Council has agreed to continue to maintain the green area in the interim, despite its 21-year lease expiring on Friday. Residents have also taken on the task of filling the pot-holes at the roads bordering the green.

Mrs Baker added: “Residents voted unanimously to secure a sale and have been pledging money to look after the green for the benefit of everyone in Diss while ensuring that future decisions about road maintenance are resolved democratically by those involved. This seems the most sensible solution to what has been a long and difficult situation. We hope the charity reconsiders its position,” she said.

Deborah Sarson, town clerk, added: “Diss Town Council is as concerned about the future of Fair Green as anyone else. No matter what else is going on the green is still an amenity for the benefit of Diss and the town council is willing to maintain it in the medium term. The roads are a different matter all together.”

A spokesman for the Diss Parochial Charity confirmed that the neighbourhood association's bid had been rejected and the charity was bound by Charity Commission rules.


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