We had a similar situation here in Gnosall, however the land had never been built on. Local residents got together to claim Village Green Status for the land. It was quite a long drawn out process but in the end they were successful and it is now a designated Village Green.
As a village green it effectively protected from further development. If you type “Gnosall Village Green” into a search engine you will find lots of information and indeed the application in PDF.
It is an excellent community asset now and is included in the Neighbourhood Plan. It is used for recreation such as village fun days.
Get in quick and best of luck.