VILLAGERS have won a landmark battle to save their last open space.
Weston residents have stopped their Mere Road playing field from becoming a housing estate after a two-year fight with developers and Cheshire County Council.
Campaign organiser David Pepper said: 'It has been a long battle and this is a historic victory.
'It is almost unheard of for something like this to happen. This is the only open space in the village. We have ensured our children can continue to play where their fathers did.'
The campaign to save the playing fields was launched when residents learned that the county council had transferred the field to developer Countryside Properties.
The authority had handed over the land in a swap deal with the developer who built the nearby Wychwood Park housing estate.
As part of the Wychwood development, Countryside Properties agreed to build a new village primary school. But an access road to the school was never constructed.
As a result the council agreed to exchange the playing fields for land owned by Countryside Properties, on which they could build a road to the school.
Residents were furious when the firm then announced plans to create a large housing estate on the fields, which had hosted sports for more than 25 years.
Now, after a prolonged and carefully orchestrated campaign, the developer has agreed not to build on the fields and given villagers £5,000 for its upkeep.
Ownership of the land has passed to Weston Parish Council and it has been placed on the register of the National Playing Fields Association to protect it from development bids.
Crewe and Nantwich borough councillor Maureen Campbell said: 'This is not just a victory for the villagers, it is also a victory for common sense and local democracy.'
The fields will be managed by a group of nine trustees. They plan to use the £5,000 for landscaping projects, including the possibility of a tennis area.