Cheshire West and Chester Council has issued a statement saying it has no intention of selling off a well-loved park after a 50-strong demonstration at the weekend.
The ‘Save Our Park’ campaign in Hoole has gathered momentum because many residents are concerned about the authority’s guardianship of the Edwardian Alexandra Park.
Their legal advice suggests the council flouted the original covenants in auctioning off the park lodge for £249,000 and imposing a planning condition that the new St Martin’s Academy creates a footpath through the park with a private access gate.
Complaints have been sent to the Local Government Ombudsman and the District Auditor. And there is an application to register the park with English Heritage as an historic asset.
Former Chester Catholic High School teacher Gerald Kelly said: “There is quite clearly still a lot of strong feeling, not to say anger, among a wide range of Hoole residents about what CWaC has done and propose doing to the park.”
But council spokeswoman Laura Johnson said: “This authority is satisfied that covenants do not prevent the sale of the lodge or the creation of a pathway which connects to the school.
“The council understands that some local residents have taken legal advice on the matter, but has only been shown part of that advice.
“From what we have seen, it would seem that the advice is fundamentally flawed. This is because the advice assumes that the paths in the park are Public Rights of Way.
“They are in fact simply a network of pathways set out to provide convenient access to and through various areas of the park, when the park is open to the public.
“As the layout and needs of the park and its users change, so can the layout of the paths within the park to ensure that the green space can be used and enjoyed by all.
“Let it be clear that this council is looking to continue to increase usage of the local green space, securing the future of the park as a vibrant community asset and has no plans whatsoever to ‘sell off’ the green space land of Alexandra Park.”