Forget war link – ELDC ‘will sell’ The Wong for re-development

The  Wong ' still facing an uncertain future but will owners  ELDC opt to sell  it?
The Wong ' still facing an uncertain future but will owners ELDC opt to sell it?

A former member of a working group set up to establish The Wong in Horncastle as a community asset believes owners East Lindsey District Council will sell it for re-development.

The Wong Working Group was disbanded after years of discussions with ELDC failed to reach an agreement on the future of the historic site.

Since then, HorncastleTown Council has tried to negotiate with ELDC, without success.

Former working group chairman Councillor Bil Aron has organised a meeting tomorrow (Thursday) at Stanhope Hall (6.30pm) in a bid to include The Wong in the Royal British Legion supported Centenary Fields scheme.

The scheme is designed to offer protection to any sites with a proven link to the First World War.

Coun Aron believes The Wong could qualify because is was a recognised training ground for a company of soldiers based in Horncastle before and during First World War.

Former working group member Richard Barker says it will be ‘interesting’ to see what the outcome of tomorrow’s meeting is.

However, he is adamant that ELDC hold ‘all the aces’ as landowners and says his own research shows there are no covenants on the land which could boost any hopes of it becoming a community facility.

Mr Barker said: “My own belief is that ELDC will sell the land, possibly for some low-scale commercial or retail development but I wouldn’t rule out housing either.

“Personally, if it is sold, I would like to see part of the site set aside for extra car parking, or a square established which could be utilised as a war memorial.”

The Wong has been at the centre of speculation for decades with attempts to establish it was a ‘community area’ having stalled.

Residents took part in a survey and backed calls for the site to be turned into a community asset, potentially featuring a children’s play area,

ELDC say they are currently undertaking a review of all their land assets – including The Wong. They add no decision will be made until after the review is completed.

They add until that review has been completed, it is not possible to comment on any plans the have for the site.

Bill Aron said, “Horncastle has shown an interest in managing and enhancing this parcel of land for a number of years. We have been awaiting for ELDC’s asset review when we learnt of Fields in Trust’s Centenary Fields Scheme that helps to secure open space across the country with a WW1 connection - the Wong certainly does have that affiliation”.

As this is a Royal British Legion and Fields in Trust project we have asked Julian Millington of the RBL to chair a Meeting at Stanhope Hall on Thursday June 22nd at 6.30pm where we hope as many interested parties can come and find out more from Jamie Leeson, Fields in Trust’s Development Manager, about this exciting scheme which has Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge as its President.”