Page last updated at 17:24 GMT, Saturday, 17 January 2009

Man pledges 10-year site protest

David Barker
David Barker said he would camp there for ten years if necessary

A man camped on the derelict site of Stoke City's former football ground says he will stay there for 10 years in a bid to turn the land into a park.

David Barker has been living in a tent on the Victoria Ground site since Christmas in sub-zero temperatures.

He said he would use the law of adverse possession to gain control of it and then turn it over to park use.

To do that he must keep leaseholders St Mowden off the site. But St Modwen said they would evict him soon.

Planning consent

Mr Barker, who is currently unemployed, said he was taking a stand for the community because the site had been left derelict for more than 11 years.

Developer St Mowden applied for planning consent to convert the site for housing but announced in December that market conditions were not right for a residential development.

Stoke City played at the ground since 1878 until the club moved to the Britannia Stadium in 1997.

Mr Barker said he had been litter picking the site every day, because to gain legal possession he has to show he has made an improvement to the land.

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