Thursday, 10 April 2008

Where I Live - A village under threat



Where I live is under threat from developers. There are plans to build an unbelievable 1500 new houses not far down the road, tearing through our parish, bulldozing ancient woodland, blotting out tiny single track roads and tranquil green lanes, interrupting wild life corridors and filling in ditches and ponds.



The intention is to build on one of the few remaining areas for miles where it's possible to ride a bike in safety, where the only other traffic you'll meet is on horse back or the occasional tractor. Where it is possible to walk a dog or tramp footpaths far away from the noise of cars that threaten to swamp us all.



The fields destined for this outrage are home to a huge variety of flora and fauna. I know this as, for the past four years, I have been part of the village biodiversity survey. We've now surveyed 70% of our surrounding parish. No mean feat as the area is huge.



Our owl box project has encouraged barn owl and tawny owls into the area, we've discovered and recorded all sorts of rare and unusual plants and trees, including several previously unrecorded Wild service trees. We have ponds with crested newts and possibly even a colony of water voles. But when this large scale housing project goes ahead, and it’s likely it will, this will mean nothing.



This urban expansion isn't for local needs, there is actually a small surplus of homes in the local town; the people who will live in these houses are likely to work in an ever expanding area of urbanisation over ten miles from our parish. To get there they will have to drive on unbelievably congested roads as the trains are full and nobody relies on the buses.



We've wheeled out our local celebrities, marched in the rain, petitioned and written letters of opposition, now all we can do is sit and wait, dreading the result. Watch this space, you may yet see Lampie chained to a tree trying to hold back the bulldozers.

(The picture is of a Wild Service Tree, often an indicator of ancient woodland)

14 comments:

Tygogal said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Faith said...

Oh Lampie I am so sorry - I hope you and the others will be able to stop this happening to such a lovely place, but I fear you won't.

(ps - you might see a little dustbin icon near tygogal's comment and be able to delete it. I had a similar unwanted comment on my blog, and firstly I couldnt see the dustbin icon but after a while it was there and I could delete the comment)

Zoë said...

We have exactly this problem were I live, Nothing is sacred anymore. So far they have bulldozed an SSI, 3 Farms to my knowledge knocked down 2 pubs and crammed in houses and much much more is planned. The worst being Tesco wanting to build the largest distribution centre in the country putting another 600 HGV lorries a day on local roads. You so hae my sympathy, keep up the good work!

Milla said...

And here. Bloody maddening. Why can't they just STOP. What happened to more urban regeneration and to brownfield sites and why the need for more and more and more of these samey houses anyway. The roads can't cope, there is no local work, the schools are flooded (34 in my youngest's class) - plus with God knows how many new houses going up, our excellent comp - a mile and a half away - will be too full of new people to allow us in and children round here will have to go to one miles away the other way in a place which means nothing to them. Makes me sick. These developers seem outside the normal planning channels, able to go straight to appeal and swifty things through at an alarming speed. When you've finished with your chains, I'll borrow them.

Fennie said...

What is a Wild Service tree when it's (clearly very much) at home? I've never heard of one, but that is probably just my ignorance.

Now, we had a similar proposal here - actually to develop an old airfield which is currently underused as an industrial estate. But the planners turned it down. Not quite sure how I react to that as it will just mean more infill development and expanding existing villages to breaking point whereas most of the proposal land was brown field. Anyway, good luck. Kick up a stink. Write loads of letters. Involve the politicians. Play the wildlife angle. Mention the dreaded word 'archeology' - neolithic burial sites, most important etc etc. Once the archeologists have started to dig, developers don't have a chance

Inthemud said...

If you're chaining yourself to a tree let me know i'll join you.
Where's Swampy when you need him??

Pondside said...

Sounds awful, LWB. Over here we are trying to support a large, concentrated development at the very south end of our rural district, in order to avoid strip development deep into the forest. It's all about $$$$$s and it brings out the worst in people. Good luck in your fight.

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Berludy hell . . . it is so wrong . . .actually speechless for you . . . I do hope that sense prevails and that this wretched project does not go through.

laurie said...

oh, this is so depressing to read. i'm so sorry. fight on!!! this happens all over america. but i had hoped that other countries were more wise.

Exmoorjane said...

SO sorry, really am.....the main reason we refused to move out of the national park is that it is one place where it's hard for them to ram through planning. But step outside it (as per my blog) and it's a field day.
Do hope you win.....but do put on a vest if you're planning to chain yourself to a tree!
And yes, I wanted to ask teh same question as Fennie.....

Malc said...

Depressing, isn't it? It seems the whole of England south of Sheffield/Manchester is being built on, destroying many of the very things that made England a half-decent country to live in.

That's one very good reason why we moved to Orkney.

Ivy said...

Find a rare species (no matter if it's a bird or plant ) and apply for the EU commission to put that area under protection This is how they stopped a train route and an airport here. The bird was actually never seen by anybody I hasten to add. :-))

Her on the Hill said...

Hi LWB - your late night comment on my blog has now delayed my going to bed even further! Popped over to you and am horrified to read this. I was born and brought up in West Sussex and parents still live there. Where are you I wonder? My stomach is in a knot just reading this. I have seen all the countryside I grew up with systematically destroyed and it makes you want to weep. The area is SO over-congested now, it is hard to credit that there is a need (yet alone a viable one) for still more houses. There are parts of where I grew up which I hardly even recognise so much have they changed - as you say, lanes, fields all distorted and contorted or lost forever to make way for more and more characterless houses. Like Jane, I at least now live in a National Park which affords my soul a little peace - but even in the 5 years I have lived up here there has been a tremendous amount of building (albeit slightly more contained) and the roads/services are commensurately busier. All that I loved about moving here slowly slowly being eroded too...

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