THE much-discussed covenant on the land currently occupied by the Greig Hall remains in place after a decision by Stratford District Council to remove it, was called in by district councillors Mike Gittus, Susan Adams and Eric Payne.

The site was sold to the Greig Trust in 1950 with a covenant stating it was for youth and civic use only. That covenant will have to be lifted in order for the site to be developed into housing.

On February 21, 2011 councillor John Appleton, the resources portfolio holder made a decision to remove the covenant on the land, on the condition that the site's developers pay back £200,000 of the £800,000 loaned to the Greig by Stratford District Council in 2005.

The call in, now means that the Overview and Scrutiny committee has referred the decision back to Coun Appleton for reconsideration after consultation with interested parties, in particular Alcester's neighbouring parish councils.

It also means that the district councillors have now nailed their colours to the mast over the issue of the Greig's future, coming out in opposition to the proposed developments.

Until now the three councillors have removed themselves from discussions regarding the future of the Greig Centre, so that they would remain unbiased and able to vote on the issue at the planning stage.

The action means that they will no longer be able to vote on the issue of planning permission, although they will still be able to join in the debate.

Councillor Mike Gittus, said: "I addressed them on behalf of the community of Alcester for an hour and a half, and the community determined that the decision should be revisited, so they've sent that decision back to the councillors in the light of lack of public consultation and the possibility of lack of public value.

"1,363 people signed the petition that said they didn't want the restricted covenant removed, so you might say that's a small victory for the town."

Discussing the decision, Greig trustee Linda Chadwick, added: "We have been keen to ensure that people understand why things have to change. This extra consultation provides us with another opportunity to get the facts known. We are confident that the consultation will support the trust's view that there is only one way forward, to ensure we have attractive, affordable and sustainable facilities, for the future and in line with the council's investment."

No date has been fixed for the matter to be resolved, although Stratford District Council has recognised the urgency of the situation.