WINCHESTER City Council has done a U-turn on the status of two Alresford car parks, which it had designated as “community assets”.

Land at both the Mid-Hampshire Railway Ltd and Perins School has been delisted and taken off the local authority’s website.

But council tax payers could end up paying legal fees The Watercress Line ran up fighting its case at a case review held at the Guildhall last month.

The charity’s bill has just been submitted.

Under recent legislation pubs, play areas and other important public facilities can be legally ring-fenced to prevent a quick sale without those living nearby first having an option to buy them.

Winchester City Council mistakenly registered the railway’s Station Road car park as “an asset of community value” following an application by New Alresford Town Council.

When its Corporate Director Steve Tilbury realised the nomination mistakenly included land the city council owned itself he last week officially judged the listing as “unsuccessful”.

This will make it difficult legally to nominate the same place again for the next five years.

A recent review of the listing of the Perins School car park concluded it should also be delisted because its main use is not a community one.

However New Alresford Town Council planning spokeswoman Margot Power said they still intend to reapply for the railway car park to be given “community asset” status.

“The Watercress Line may not always be there and it (the car park) is part of the fabric of the town,” she said.

“Alresford’s two car parks are always full – we can’t afford to lose either of them if we want to continue as a busy, working town.”

Both car parks are currently leased to the town council.

Mid-Hampshire Railway’s contract is set to run until 2020 and the one for the Perins car park until 2035.