Neighbours rallying against a decision which would have them blocked off from their local park are celebrating a minor reprieve.

Earlier this month the Harrow on the Hill community gathered to protest an out-of-the-blue request by the owners of Churchfields to construct a gate blocking a much-used route to local schools, transport and a church by today (Tuesday).

Further discussions will now take place between Harrow Council and the royal charter corporation which owns the land – linked with both Harrow School and John Lyon School – with their deadline for the council to build a gate restricting public access from Kingsfield Road to Churchfields being extended from August 26 to October 7 .

Barbara Coster, 81, who lives on the road, said: “I have lived in Harrow all my life and remember using the field since I was a child, so it was such a shock to just see a sign saying we may no longer be able to use it.”

 

The council leases the land from the organisation, however within the contract the authority is obliged to have a gate restricting public access, a condition which has not been fulfilled since the inception of the lease, decades ago.

Mrs Coster added: “It is such a beautiful bit of land, and I suppose they put the sign up over the summer when they thought people would not notice, when there are no parents walking their children to school through it.

“Of course we are happy they have extended the deadline, but we are taking nothing for granted. They could talk and talk and still go ahead so we are keeping up the fight and won’t lose interest in the matter.”

Labour MP for Harrow West Gareth Thomas is writing to the owners of the land in support of the neighbours of Kingsfield Road.

A spokesman for the council confirmed that solicitors from Harrow School informed the authority that it would be extending the deadline until October to allow further discussions to take place between all parties concerned.

He added: “We welcome this decision to further discuss the future of the well-loved Churchfields.”

The council are currently taking legal advice on whether or not the land constitutes a public right of way, as the condition of the lease stipulating that public access must be blocked off from the Kingsfield Road entrance has gone unenforced for so long.