CIVIC bosses will be urged this week to formally protect the “last green lung” in the centre of Eastleigh.

Conservative councillor Judith Grajewski has proposed a motion to Eastleigh Borough Council to stop Leigh Road Recreation Ground being built on.

Part of the land, owned by the Liberal Democrat-controlled council, was recently threatened by development when Sainsbury’s announced it wanted to knock down its existing supermarket and build a bigger one, encroaching on to part of the park.

The plans sparked protests from residents who set up the campaign group Rescue the Rec.

The retail giant has since scrapped the proposals for financial reasons – but Councillor Grajewski says she wants the council to make a commitment to the recreation ground.

She said: “It’s a response to the strength of feeling and the amount of people in Eastleigh who feel that the land is theirs and that it was given to them.

“The council would have been able to give permission for the Sainsbury’s to be built, but just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

“I think it’s a green lung in the centre of Eastleigh and we’re building everywhere and taking green space.

“The way things are going people will have to travel to get to any green space – when it should be on their doorstep.

“I think if the motion is passed it will certainly strengthen the case for it being protected.”

The recreation ground was created in 1896 from Little Eastleigh Farm and was originally known as the Cricket Field.

Parts of it have been developed over the years – including when Sainsbury’s was originally built and when The Point was extended.

Councillor Grajewski’s motion proposes that the council “will resist all moves to develop any of the land for residential, commercial or other purposes deemed not to be recreational and in keeping with the present character of the facility.”

It will be debated at a full council meeting tomorrow at the Civic Offices in Leigh Road from 7pm.