A BELOVED public garden in Walton which went up for sale at auction could be saved after council representatives discussed the possibility of purchasing it.

The treasured green space, in Church Road, is positioned outside the town’s train station and is often the first thing commuters see when they step off the platform.

Its future, however, was thrown into doubt last month when an auction board suddenly appeared in the conservation area.

Residents and campaign group Save Our Spaces grew concerned it could fall into the hands of developers, but the historic space, owned by JC Decaux, failed to sell.

Town councillors in Frinton and Walton are now planning to look into ways they can acquire the land after the issue was brought to light at a public meeting on Thursday.

Walton councillor Delyth Miles said: “What matters is that we must get this for the residents of Walton.

“We would make it a proper asset and the whole reason we want to buy it is to secure it for residents and generations to come because it is an open space.

“This could be a burden to developers, but it is the local authority’s responsibility to take on liabilities in the interests of the residents.

“I do think we need to put the residents first on this occasion because Walton deserves to have some money spent on it.”

According to Frinton councillor Nick Turner, planning permission wouldn’t be easily granted, and therefore the land is “worthless” to developers hoping to build on it.

He has suggested the board files an application to make the garden a community asset, which would mean it couldn’t be sold to anyone for six months.

Mr Turner said: “It is a worthless piece of land because it will not get planning permission and so there is very little you can do with this land.

“It is recognised as an important green space. Making a community asset application puts a stay of execution on it and gives the community a chance to consider buying it.”

Hilary Carter, 64, of Newgate Street founded Save Our Spaces with other worried residents to combat overdevelopment in Walton.

She has welcomed the council’s decision to look into the possibility of acquiring the precious garden.

Ms Carter said: “It would be wonderful for our community if the local town council purchased the land.

“That would safeguard it for future generations. It is only a small plot of land, but it is much loved by local residents.

“Sometimes I feel Walton is forgotten, so I do hope the council decide to buy it.”

The council has yet to confirm its plans but may form a working party to decide on how best to move forward.