A SHEPTON Mallet community action group may have jeopardised the future of Mid-Somerset Show in its bid to stave off housing development in the town.
The Shepton Mallets have applied for Village Green status to be granted to a parcel of land belonging to the show off Cannard’s Grave Road.
The group said this was in response to changes to Mendip’s Draft Local Plan which now earmarks that area for development along with most of the rest of the show site, owned by the Vagg family and Duchy of Cornwall.
But show organisers fear it could have devastating consequences.
Mid-Somerset Show treasurer Roger Eddy said: “The society owns one and a half acres of land next to the surgery that has considerable value.
“If declared a Village Green that would be wiped out and would have no value – that would kill the show forever.”
Most of the land that the show has occupied for more than 100 years is earmarked for new homes under the revised Draft Local Plan – and the show bosses have said they would be happy to move elsewhere.
But the show would need to fund that relocation using its own parcel of land.
“The show needs 50 to 60 acres of land and most land we use is by kind permission of the Vagg family,” said Mr Eddy.
“If houses are not built we carry on as we are now.
“But if that land is taken for development then the show is going to have to move. And if we have to move, because we own a piece of land of value, we can use it to obtain a piece of land for the show.
“If the land we own has no value then we have no leverage or funds to use land elsewhere and it would kill the show.”
The Mid-Somerset Agricultural Society, which organises the show, hopes it will find a new home on a site at Ridge Lane if its current location becomes a housing estate.
Mr Eddy said: “We’re hopeful at the moment, Village Green aside, that with goodwill on all sides we will have a site for the show adjacent to Ridge Lane. And when houses are built that site will still be adjacent to the edge of town, only the town will be bigger.
“That could provide a useful facility for the town to use on more than just show day.”
A Somerset County Council spokesman said: “We have received an application for a Village Green in Shepton Mallet and this is currently waiting to be validated.”
A spokesman for the Shepton Mallets confirmed the group had submitted the application in response to the revised Draft Local Plan, but was unable to comment further.