The borough council has set up a task force to investigate after a council error saw it lose its control over a much-loved piece of land.

As previously reported, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council failed to enact a section 52 agreement on the village green at Broadhurst Grove, Lychpit.

It has led to the developer of the estate, constructed 40 years ago, selling the land at auction and residents now being threatened with their "community hub" being built on.

Now, BDBC has confirmed that it has set up a task force to investigate other instances where a section 52 agreement may have failed to be enforced, and will liaise with neighbouring authorities including Winchester City Council to "share learning".

A spokesperson for BDBC told The Gazette: "The council has established a project team of officers from legal, planning, property and environmental services to look into section 52 planning agreements under which land should have been transferred to the council as open space in the borough.

"This follows an issue with land at Broadhurst Grove where it came to light that a legal transfer of land we had been maintaining as open space had not been completed 40 years ago.

"The team is looking into the situation to check other areas of the borough and consider the options. As part of this work we will be liaising with other councils to share learning as appropriate."

It comes after the council leader said he would do "everything in [his] power" to stop this issue from happening again.

Cllr Ken Rhatigan was responding to a question from Francesca Maritan at a full council meeting on March 18 when he said that the saga was "important" to him and his top team.

He had visited the site just days before and spoken to residents about the situation, he added.

Cllr Rhatigan told the meeting: "This is important to the administration. This is a very important issue to us and one I know my colleagues such as Councillor [Onnalee] Cubitt, Sven Godesen and Cllr [Mark] Ruffell have all come to me and asked what I can do about it.

"I spoke to the chief executive on Monday [March 15] and we have set up a task force to not just review this individual case but as the questioner has pointed out, there are probably a number of section 52 notices across the borough, to review them properly to give them some standing in the wider world.

"We cherish it but sometimes things slip through the net and although the section 52 is over 40 years old, it is beholden on us to protect it where we have a responsibility.

"I assure the questioner that we will do everything in our power to ensure that there is a proper land management and not allow it to worry and distress other communities in the borough."

Cllr Rhatigan also said that open spaces are protected under policy EM5 of the council's local plan, meaning any planning applications must respect them.