A MUCH-TREASURED public open space saved from housing development following a Vale-wide campaign, is set to be developed as a community garden.

More than 12,000 people signed a petition opposing the Vale Council’s plans, in 2007, to sell land either side of Barry’s cemetery approach in a deal believed to be worth more than £2m.

Vale planners approved Newydd housing association’s application to develop in October 2007, but attention was drawn to the possibility the land was Public Open Space and subject to certain statutory procedures.

Now the land either side of the tree-lined avenue, which has remained derelict, is being proposed as a Centenary Field - a scheme run via a partnership between Fields in Trust and Royal British Legion.

The scheme aims to encourage every local authority across the UK to nominate at least one recreational space to be dedicated in commemoration of the millions of people who lost their lives in the First World War.

The Vale Council and Barry Town council are seeking additional funding via the Armed Forces Community Covenant Grant Scheme to create a relaxing and pleasant space for local people as well as visitors to the cemetery.

A spokesman for the management committee of the Save Cemetery Approach Action Group said he was confident they could speak for the thousands of people who signed the petition to express delight at the proposal.

He said: “We are pleased to note that the Centenary Field's link with the community will offer support and comfort to many. We also hope that the obvious pride of the two councils will bear the fruit of success, but it would make much sense, and give the scheme greater currency, for the community to be more engaged in the project development.”

Vale Council leader, Cllr Neil Moore, said both councils were working together on a vision to create a community garden with meaning, would provide areas for play as well as quiet reflection.

He said: “I am very much looking forward to seeing the project come to fruition.”

Barry Town Council leader, Cllr Stuart Egan said: “We are delighted to be able to work with the Vale of Glamorgan Council to bring these two pieces of land back into purposeful use.

“Thanks to the hard work of council officers and local councillors we are now going to be able to provide a beautiful community garden for the people of Barry to enjoy for years to come.”