September 24th, 2016

Keresley meadow campaigners raise fears

Updated: 4:43 pm, May 07, 2015

CAMPAIGNERS aiming to save a popular hay meadow are clinging onto hope after a farmer delayed moves to plough the land.

It was believed the Somers Road meadow in Keresley would be ploughed by the end of June but the land owner has not yet made the move. And locals are using the delay as an opportunity to challenge Natural England’s decision to allow ploughing on the site.

They claim the field could one day be housing and is full of wildlife which needs to be saved.

Two petitions have a combined 1,000 signatures while a local MP is set to raise the issue with government chiefs.

Keresley resident Rachel Gering-Hasthorpe told us the delay was great news but it made her question land owner Brian Lewis’ true aims.

“The field still hasn’t been ploughed despite the farmer saying it needed to be for the autumn crop.

“It makes me wonder whether it’s actually a ruse, and he wants to build.”

Mr Lewis declined to comment when contacted by the Observer. North Warwickshire MP Dan Byles – who met with campaigners again last week – said the farmer had been reasonable in his decision to delay ploughing.

But he added there were still concerns over the process which led to the land owner getting the go ahead and he would raise the issue with a government minister.

Last month Natural England told us two site visits had taken place and the field did not meet the right criteria to stop ploughing getting the green light.

Campaigners Rachel and Merle are determined to save the meadow. 27.014.011.cov.jm4

Observer photographer Jon Mullis snapped this shot of a meadow brown butterfly in the field. 14.011.cov.jm2

Campaigners say a small-but-determined batch of wildlife – like this burnet moth – will be lost if ploughing goes ahead. 27.014.011.cov.jm3