September 27th, 2016

Keresley hay meadow set to be ploughed in days

Updated: 4:35 pm, May 07, 2015

A HAY meadow loved by locals is set to be ploughed within the next week, the Observer has learned.

Somers Road Meadow in Keresley has been given the green light to be ploughed despite residents’ fears, reported in The Observer earlier this month, it could clear the way for a new housing development in the long term.

It is believed plans are in place to plough the field by next Friday.

Campaigners who launched a petition have been backed by North Warwickshire MP Dan Byles, who claimed the meadow was a rare community asset for the region.

Natural England, which ruled it could be ploughed, said it sympathised with residents but the land was privately owned and had no legal public access.

But Mr Byles said it had originally been Coal Board land not ploughed since the 1960s and to his knowledge neither them or the current owner had objected to people walking on it.

“Many local residents have been enjoying it as a pleasant meadow to walk through for many decades, a rare thing in this part of Coventry and Warwickshire.

“By established practice it has been a community asset for many years in addition to being a designated Local Wildlife Site.”

He added: “It is disappointing Natural England seems to be pushing this process through as fast as possible without engaging with the people who live here.

“They’ve kept their criteria secret and only provided a heavily redacted version of their wildlife report.”

The Warwickshire Wildlife Trust has also complained to the organisation over their handling of the case with head of living landscapes Gina Rowe expressing ‘strong concern’ over the decision to allow ploughing in a letter to Natural England.

A Natural England spokesman said it met with trust representatives, the land owner and community last week to survey the site again.

He said: “In this case Natural England has to judge the landowner’s proposal against the Environmental Impact Assessment (Agriculture) regulations.

“We found that – against the regulations and across the site as a whole – there is not enough species richness to stop the landowner doing the proposed work.”

Vist you.38degrees.org.uk and search for Keresley to view the petition.

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