Land left in trust to the villagers of Steeton when an elderly woman died will not be leased to residents who live next to it.

In 1991 Dorothy Clough, whose family had long standing links with the village, left land near St Stephen’s Road — north of the memorial garden — to the care of the parish council, in her will. She directed that the land should only be used for leisure or recreation purposes but so far it has been untouched.

Residents living next to the land have asked if it can be leased to them for their own use, but Steeton-with-Eastburn Parish Council refused. Cllr Mullen said: “It cannot be leased because it clearly states in the legal document that it is for all the residents of Steeton and Eastburn, so to make it just for three residents cannot be done.”

But the council decided that converting the land into a leisure or recreation facility might attract more youths and create an added concern to police.

Cllr Roger Lambert said: “There are serious concerns about public safety and there has been concern expressed by residents about it attracting anti-social behaviour.”