THE High Court is being asked to decide whether Warneford Meadow can be made a village green and saved from development.

In April, after an application by local resident Paul Deluce, an Oxfordshire County Council planning inspector ruled the meadow should be registered as a village green after a 15-day public inquiry.

The land is owned by the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust.

The NHS has appealed against the planning inspector’s decision at a hearing in London, which ended today.

The inspector said the land had been used for sports and pastimes for at least 20 years and could be declared a village green.

But Charles George QC, for the NHS, said anyone using the land could only have done so by walking past a large sign proclaiming: ‘No public right of way.’ It is his case that the planning inspector should have found in favour of the two NHS trusts and that the land had been accessed by “force, stealth or without the permission of the owner”.

However, lawyers for the local authority said the notice applied to footpaths crossing the land, and did not prevent sports.

The judge has reserved judgement on the case until a later date.