Residents told covenant is just '˜folklore'

Residents keen to see a covenant that protects a popular Blackpool playing field have been told that it is nothing more than '˜folklore'.

Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 9:13 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 6:31 pm
Fishers Field off Highfield Road

A row is bubbling between South Shore residents and councillors and Blackpool Council about Fisher’s Field.

It has long been thought that the field, at the junction of St Annes Road and Highfield Road, are protected by covenant – a decree stating the fields must be used ‘for the benefit of the children of the borough’.

‘Mrs Fisher’s Covenant’ has been referred to in meetings of Blackpool Council and even comes up on surveyors’ searches for nearby homes.

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But now one resident, who quizzed Blackpool Council on the document, says he’s been told by town hall bosses it is nothing more than an urban myth.

Mike Beck, of Emerson Avenue, said: “People in this town have known about the existence of Mrs Fisher’s Covenant since they were children.

“It expresses her explicit wishes that the land was not to be built on and was ‘for the use of the children of the borough’.

“It has been mentioned in debate in the council chamber. But when I asked my local councillor to confirm the details, I am told the senior solicitor at the town hall believes it never existed.

“I’m not worried now but if the council denies the existence of the covenant it could, one day, lead to Fisher’s Field being full of houses.”

Water firm United Utilities is currently working on the field to install an underground stormwater tank, to help improve the quality of Blackpool’s sea water.

Mr Beck’s cause has been taken up by local councillors and an MP.

Coun Lily Henderson has lived in South Shore for 70 years and has heard plenty of talk of a covenant.

She said: “I always remember walking past those fields and being so happy to see the green space.

“The covenant was well known by the community.

“I’m now applying to the Land Registry to find out who owns the land and what covenant, if any, there is.

“This issue has been raised by local residents and I will follow it up because it’s important to know this local asset is protected.”

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden is understood to have also quizzed Blackpool Council over the covenant.

However, Blackpool Council says there is no such covenant – but residents need not be worried.

He said: “While there is no evidence of a physical covenant on the deeds for Fisher’s Field, protecting it for the enjoyment of the local children and community is of the utmost importance.

“This Council has no plans to build over the park or sell it.

“The United Utilities project is a temporary one which should actually improve the sports facilities when it is completed.

“Green space in Blackpool is of a premium and we are much more focused on maintaining and investing in our parks than losing them.”