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Land Ploughed - Wildlife Displaced


JonA
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Hi All

 

My first post on this site relates to a piece of land near our home in the Stretton/Appleton area which falls under the control of English Partnerships, and until recently was wild meadow with all the benefits to local wildlife that that entails and a cycle/foot path runs along the top edge. The land is earmarked for development (but not until 2015 at the earliest) and our understanding is that it is not assigned for agricultural use at this time, but despite this English Partnerships took it upon themselves sometime in the last few days to deep plough the entire area (approx 10 acres) with absolutely no notice or consideration for residents. In fact, on contacting EP we were informed that the destruction had been conducted to "keep people off the land". (It is worth noting at this point that EP's actions are effectively paid for by us through our taxes).

 

WE can not allow posts to make personal attacks on people and as such have removed comments relating to a named individual.

We have kept the full transcript should it be required in a court of law!

Gary Skentelbery

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EP are already feeling the blow of a huge 'credit crunch' deficit. They are/were merging with the Housing Corporation creating the new 'Homes and Communities Agency'. I think the new ageny comes into effect in December 2008 but I may be wrong :?

 

According to the article from Aug this year English Patnerships were 'technically insolvent' but becasue they are a government agency they cannot go bankrupt. See link

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/aug/24/housingmarket.englishpartnerships

 

Anyway... once the merger of EP takes place and the new 'Communities Agency' kicks in here's the sort of things that are proposed..

 

The Homes and Communities Agency will join up the delivery of housing and regeneration, bringing together the functions of English Partnerships, the investment functions of the Housing Corporation, the Academy for Sustainable Communities and key housing and regeneration programmes delivered by Communities and Local Government. These will include Growth Areas, Thames Gateway delivery, Housing Market Renewal, Decent Homes, Mixed Communities, the Places of Change Programme and Gypsy and Traveller Sites Grant.

 

Worth also noting that lot of other land in the Appleton and surrounding area IS ALSO OWNED by English Partnerships. :shock:

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I think, observer, that you are right on the eco value issue (and also this relates to another issue - residents employing land for another use which then causes difficulty in getting planning permission). However, this piece of land has already been earmarked for development and permission granted. There are also plenty of areas around the houses in this area and so residents would have a weak case to apply to overturn the development permission.

 

For EP to plough it up now (and for the next 8 or more years) simply to protect their building rights seems both paranoid and inconsiderately destructive, and what is more - they are using our money to do the ploughing. It also seems a great shame that the land could not continue to provide some visual pleasure for residents and some support for local wildlife during the many years before development takes place.

 

It was a lovely meadow area with good quality grass and wildflower (not scrubland) and could have been maintained as such with little or no expense for the next few years. Now it is ploughed soil which will rapidly turn into mud.

 

In other words - they've won they're development rights - so why don't they back off now and let people enjoy the last few years before it turns into housing (which in the current economic climate may well not happen for considerably longer than originally intended).

 

Jon A

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JONA - This is a public forum for open debate - not a platform to launch personal attacks on named individuals.

I have edited all posts relating to the named individual.

We can not allow posts to make references to named people allegedly making threats.

If such threats were made they must be pursued via another route other than a public forum as we can become liable for what our readers say on here if we do not act in a responsible manner.

Please feel free to debate your concerns over the area of land but please do not make personal attacks on a named individual.

We have kept a full transcript of your comments should they be required at a later date.

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Point taken Gary (although I was extremely carefully to make sure that I was very clear on what was my opinion or my belief and not hard fact - and I did explain that my recollection might not be completely word-for-word accurate). I have taken your advice, and have raised the issue directly with the Warrington South Conservative office. In the meantime I would urge any residents local to the field in question to have a look at it and if they are unhappy with the actions taken.

 

Cheers

Jon A

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Protection against travellers has been suggested as a possibility but English Partnerships were very clear that it was to keep the residents off it - it is fully protected against incursion by vehicles - it has embankments and metal bollards to restrict access by anything other than bicycles and pedestrians along the cycle path.

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Jon A, This ploughing action brings back memories of the Peel Hall land owner who sent in the manic plougher who carved up the wildlife and habitat near where I live. This was a massive area from Peel Hall Park to the M62 from near the Plough Inn (ironically) to almost junction 9. The owner could see that people didn't want houses on the land and were talking about the special nature and nature of the area and he basically said 'up your' it's my land and I can do what I want to make it useless for wildlife and by the way keep off because I'll prosecute you and just to make sure up went the barbed wire.

 

Years later the habitat has recovered, the crested newts are no doubt breathing a sigh of relief and the barbed wire has been removed by the dog walking fraternity.

 

The main difference is that he (or the company that now manages or owns the land) didn?t and I don?t think have yet gained planning permission for the area (although they do seem to have a judge on their side).

 

I?m sure that you are taking your concerns to the appropriate Parish Council (Stretton or Appleton) and also the Borough Council ? maybe to ask them a question at their next meeting.

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Wasn't there another piece of unused EP Land in the same area that hit the news recently? I read it in a local paper but can't find it on-line.

 

I'm sure it was also in Appleton and kids had built their own 'dirt jumps' on it and spent many a happy day on their bikes causing no problem to anyone...

 

EP suddenly came along and flattened their jumps etc with a JCB because of health and safety and usual twaddle :? Kids, parent's and residents weren't to impressed by EP's sudden and unexpected action.

 

Maybe it was more like a case of EP not wanting the land to be shown as being of benefit to the local community or a place of recreation :wink:

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I think the "BMX" track case is at the heart of this. A couple of local boys built a small lump in one corner of the grass area and I think EP got paranoid about the idea of the area being turned into a BMX track and then claimed by the residents as some sort of local amenity rather than as future development land.

 

In my opinion this a gross over-reaction as this is certainly not the intent or attitude of the residents. However, it is fair to say that if an organisation takes an us-and-them attitude then it will inevitably engender a similarly attitude in the local residents and they will create the very problem they are trying to avoid.

 

As to the farming explanation - it seems unlikely that a farmer would want to take this piece of land when there are far better plots of land (also owned by EP and earmarked for future development) that are more accessible by farming machinery and without a housing estate plonked slap bang in the middle of them that they would prefer to use.

 

It definitely isn't for a winter crop (as suggested by EP) as it is too late for that and the type of ploughing done is not appropriate for that use. They have also stated that the land has not yet been offered out to a farmer for use and so it seems odd that they would spend tax payers money on ploughing the field before they know whether a proscpective farmer would want it in that state or not.

 

It is worth noting that now that the soil has been broken up it would theoretically be much easier for lads to build a BMX track as the digging would be less arduous compared to heavily grassed unbroken soil.

 

Another explanation given by EP was that the mound represented a health and safety issue for people walking across the field - but the ploughing is so deep that it creates a much greater risk than the one mound ever did.

 

I believe it is also a recognised fact that the more unattractive a piece of land is, the more likely it is to get used for undesirable activities (such as dumping, traveller incursion, off road motorbikes, etc....).

 

Jon A

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