MORE than 150 banner-waving residents took to the countryside in walking boots and wellies on a Save Our Green Belt walk against plans to build 13,000 homes.
The one-hour eco protest in ‘historic and beautiful Keresley – Shakespeare’s Forest of Arden’ aimed to highlight the loss of natural habitat in such a huge development – from ancient woodland to a site where rare medieval coins were discovered and one of the best wildlife ponds left in Coventry.
Keresley sees the breeding of 13 birds of “particular interest” to Natural England, while others pass through, the campaign literature states. A further rise in traffic and air pollution is another deep concern.
As we reported last week, pupils from Cardinal Newman school in Keresley joined the protest, including 13-year-old Joseph Bracken, who wrote a passionate plea against the destruction of green belt: “My brother is 10-years-old and says, ‘The traffic is already bad getting to my school, I can’t imagine 13,000 more cars on these roads – they just can’t take it’.
“…Our green belt has incredible creatures, birds and wildlife in it. Recently coins from the fifteenth century have been found there. Do you want this all to go?”
Protesters first gathered at The Hare & Hounds Pub in Watery Lane, Kerseley at 3pm on Sunday.
They included local resident Phil Blackmore, who said: “I’ve lived here most of my life and this is disgusting. Why spoil beautiful countryside? It shouldn’t be allowed. Everyone walks their dog and goes out here to get a bit of peace and fresh air.”
More than 3,000 people have signed a petition calling for the return of threatened land to protected green belt status, and an urgent review of the city’s house-building plans. Eastern Green, Finham, Westwood Heath, Coundon Wedge, Exhall, and Cromwell Lane are other sites earmarked in Coventry’s Local Plan for 42,400 homes to be built by 2031.
Campaigners highlight the fact that this ancient woodland is ‘the best remaining piece of the Arden landscape’, the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Forest of Arden. A rare Charles the Bold Doubloon gold coin, from the 1400’s was discovered in the fields, and high quality historic floor tiles indicate the remains of a medieval chapel. In old maps the site is called God’s Hill.
Organisers Ann Evans, Dorothy Hall, Lorna Humphreys, Eileen Hughes, Colin Smith, and Merle Gering urge other wildlife lovers and environmentalists concerned about climate change to offer their support via their Facebook page, ‘Keep Our Green Belt Green – Coventry and Warwickshire‘ –https://www.facebook.com/KeepEasternGreenGREEN/ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org