TARPORLEY residents have created their own company and bought land near their homes to prevent development.

Eleven householders who live along Utkinton Road in the village have formed a company called the Utkinton Road Syndicate Ltd and bought six acres of land between Utkinton Road and the A49 to stop it being developed.

Martin Buck, of Utkinton Road, one of the residents in the company, said they first became aware the land was up for sale when a sign went up advertising the auction.

Martin and ten others were so concerned it could be bought for development they decided they had to buy it.

Martin and the other residents had all been part of the CARE action group who had campaigned tirelessly to stop developers building houses on the land off Heatherways in the village. Despite hundreds of signatures on a petition, they lost the battle and planning bosses approved an application for 33 new homes on the land.

Martin said: “After our experience of Heatherways, we knew there was a risk the land could be bought by developers and we couldn’t trust the planning authority to make the right decision. So we had to step in.”

The group quickly formed a company and tried to make an offer to stop it going to auction. But the offer was refused.

Martin said: “On the day of the auction we were quite nervous, but it actually all went to plan. We won the auction and paid less then we originally had offered.”

Martin said: “We are going to keep it as grazing or agricultural land. There is a 90% moratorium, so no-one can sell it without the rest of the group’s permission. If someone wants out the others in the company have first choice to buy. We each own an 11th of the land and it is linked to our property. So when someone sells their home it goes with the property, not with the person.

“We have learnt a lot from the Heatherways experience. We didn’t want to let it happen again. We have bought the land to protect it and keep it just as it is.”