A long-running battle to preserve a much-loved Westward Ho! park has finally reached its end, with victory for campaigners.

The unveiling of the new sign at Westward Ho! park.The unveiling of the new sign at Westward Ho! park.

Torridge District Council's community and resources committee agreed to transfer ownership of the park in Avon Lane to Northam Town Council at its meeting on Monday, January 20.

The town council intends to buy the site for £100,000 and it will remain a community facility.

The decision was met with applause by members of the public who attended the meeting in support of the park.

Westward Ho! district and town councillor Nick Laws has been fighting to keep the park, and said he was 'absolutely delighted' with the outcome.

"I'm delighted by the number of people of Westward Ho! who showed their support. You don't often see that in the town hall," said Cllr Laws.

"It's been a long, hard struggle but we got there in the end.

"We are happy the park is now safe from development and will remain a green space in the future for the likes of my grandchildren and their children to enjoy."

Councillors were recommended to support the proposal, which was considered a 'positive conclusion' by officers.

It was moved by committee vice-chairman Dermot McGeough, who said: "The park is a great asset to Westward Ho! and I would like it to stay that way for many years to come. It's nice to see Torridge District Council working with Northam Town Council in such a positive way."

The final legal hurdle will see the site advertised as an asset of community value for six weeks before the town council can secure the park.

The issue of the park had been rumbling on for several years. In 2017 campaigners lost an appeal to designate the land as a formal village green.

A 3,500-strong petition was then handed to the district council, but it still would not budge on plans for the site.

In August 2018 Atlantic Racquet Centre submitted a planning application for 10 news homes, tennis courts, a community building and a play area on the site.

The application was withdrawn in July 2019 after Torridge District Council agreed to halt development proposals and look at transferring the land ownership.