Villagers campaigning to buy their village green after a council error are hoping that Christmas will come early as they held their latest fundraiser.

Residents and passers-by gathered on the village green in Broadhurst Grove, Lychpit, where they put up Christmas Trees and handed out mince pies and cakes as part of their ‘Junemas’ event. While they weren’t charging for donations, they were asking for donations towards their £55,000 funding goal to buy back the land.

“It’s sad we’re in this position but we’ve been proactive and doing well so far,” said one of the campaigners, Sheena Grassi. “It’s been a really tough thing to do though. But just the other day, I saw a grandmother and child sat under a tree reading a book, which inspired me to press on. It’s a safe area for children, and it has a unique and tranquil feeling.”

The origins of the saga lie in the late 1970s, when the estate was built. Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council (BDBC) entered into a legal agreement with the developer, known as a section 52 agreement, which would see the land transferred to them once it was complete for just £1.

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However, the agreement was never enforced, and despite attempts to compel the owners to give back the land at Broadhurst Grove and Saxon Way, it has been sold multiple times at auction, with the owners now asking for tens of thousands of pounds.

Villagers have got together to raise £55,000, including legal fees, and have almost reached the halfway point. This latest fundraiser aims to push them into the second half of their fundraising activities, and came about as a result of a supermarket promotion.

“Sheena cooked this up when she saw Aldi were selling pigs in blankets,” said Gill Moore, one of the campaigners. “It’s a good idea as I’m planning on having the family over as they weren’t here at Christmas, so we’re just hoping people will come so we can talk to them about the situation.”

Sheena added: “I used the idea because it emphasises the family and community aspects, which is the reason for buying the land. It’s always been a green for 41 years, and going forward that’s what it will remain as.”

In addition to the green, paths and ancient hedges around Saxon Way are also intended to be purchased by the campaigners, with a local historian having uncovered an important historical connection.

“Local historian Alan Turton claims it is the point the royalists pushed the roundheads back to in the second siege of Basing House,” said Gill. “The hedge is mentioned and the only hedge marked on old maps is the one that sits there today.”

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Following Junemas, the campaigners are already looking to their next goal, with Sheena’s nephew Neil Armstrong preparing to take one small step – onto a bike.

“Neil is doing a 55 mile sponsored ride to raise as much money as he can,” Sheena said. “We’re going to continue to do lots of fundraising to bring this site back to the community.”

Once they own the land, the group intend to put it into trust for perpetuity, so that the land is owned by the public forever. In the meantime, they’re continuing to apply for village green status with the county council, and put tree protection orders on the site to preserve it.

“We all feel the same way around here,” Sheena said. “We will campaign until both Saxon way and Broadhurst Grove are public open spaces again.”

If you would like to donate to their fundraiser, please visit: