A legal row has broken out between the New Alresford Town Trust and New Alresford Town Council over access to rugby pitches at Arlebury Park.

When Arlebury Park opened in 1980 a right of way agreement over its driveway from The Avenue was reached between the town trust, which owns the driveway land, and the town council, which maintains it.

Ten years ago the council acquired extra land and built rugby pitches on some of it, but the trust believes the council did not ensure it had the right of access to this area.

The matter came to light early last year when the trust and council discussed maintenance responsibility for the access from The Avenue.

Roy Gentry, a trustee and councillor at the time of the land acquisition, said: “I recall no discussions regarding access to this land at the time and there was certainly no documented or minuted issue by either the town council or the town trust.”

The trust raised the matter in April 2021 and there was a meeting in October 2021, but the trust later began legal proceedings to stop access to the rugby pitches and adjoining land, worried that not doing so would “hinder the trust’s ability to control unsuitable access to the land in the future” which could “allow unfettered access across the land for commercial or housing development”.

A council spokesperson said: “The town council have sought professional advice and continue to be in communication with the town trust legal representatives. The town council have taken all reasonable steps to bring this matter to a close, and continue to do so for the benefit of the residents.”