13th Nov, 2019

'Our beloved green belt is being used to line pockets...': Keresley schoolpupils write ahead of Coventry protest on Sunday

Les Reid 3rd Oct, 2019 Updated: 3rd Oct, 2019

SCHOOLPUPILS at a Coventry school are joining together in opposition to thousands of new homes on their doorstep – ahead of a major protest walk on Sunday.

Students from Cardinal Newman school in Keresley expressed their thoughts on a whiteboard at a meeting this week while some, including Joseph Bracken, wrote passionate prose to plea to this in power to renege.

He wrote: My name is Joseph Bracken and I am 13 years old and I would like to talk to you about Coventry’s Green Belt.

Our greenbelt has incredible creatures, birds and wildlife in it. Recently coins from the 15th century have been found there! Do you want this all to go?

Coventry City Council are planning to build 13,000 houses on our beloved green belt and it is our job to stop it.

If you did not know Coventry is already one of the worst cities in the UK for pollution and having 13,000 houses and 13,000+ cars on our roads will not help it.

These houses are been built to include affordable housing for the homeless and for families in need, however they are being built in rural locations and out of the price range of those whose needs it is meant to fill.

Green belt is being used to line the pockets of those who just don’t care about our planet. There are so many brownfield sites across the city and yet our woodlands, fields and greenbelt which makes Coventry a place of beauty is being eaten away for no justifiable reason.

Mr Rhys Davies. Teacher of History & Peace, Justice and Community Co-ordinator, said: “Cardinal Newman students are concerned about so many new homes being built in front of their school.

“The reasons for this are wide-ranging but they cover areas such as too much traffic (which is already a problem on such a narrow road like Sandpits Lane); and loss of beautiful habitats and wildlife – the reason so many pupils like going to Newman is because it is near open green spaces.

“Another concern is air pollution. One of the biggest issues too is ‘when will they be consulted about the development?’. Are these houses for them in the future and, if they are, will they be affordable?”

As we reported last week, the Save Our Green Belt Walk is set to step up the fight against 13,000 new homes being built around Coventry on green land – amid the backdrop of ‘climate emergency’.

Pupils from Cardinal Newman school are set to join in the protest, and more than 3,000 people have now signed a petition.

It calls for the return of threatened land to protected Green belt status, and an urgent review of the city’s housebuilding plans.

Keresley, Eastern Green, Finham, Westwood Heath, Coundon Wedge, Exhall, and Cromwell Lane are among sites identified in Coventry’s Local Plan to help the city build 42,400 homes in and around the city by 2031.

Campaigners say the figures don’t stack up, claiming the methodology behind predictions for Coventry’s population growth is flawed.

They allegedly include mistaken assumptions concerning Coventry’s present and future student population.

Campaigners also argue there is no real evidence that Coventry will grow faster than almost anywhere else outside London.

All the homes needed can fit on brownfield, they maintain.

The campaign is backed by opposition councillors, including Conservative councillors would backed building on green belt including at Keresley when they were in power at the Council House up to 2010.

Ruling Labour councillors have claimed since 2012 that their ambitions for Coventry to be a “top ten city” – growing by a third to over 400,000 – are based on sound predictions and figures.

The council has long responded to campaign challenges by saying the arguments, figures and national ONS methodology were closely tested and scrutinised at public inquiries held by a national planning inspector.

Joseph’s article continues…

Please stop destroying our plant, stop putting more cars on the roads! The 13,000 houses are all being built on the outskirts of the city where each one produces 4 times more carbon dioxide than houses in the centre.

This is because people in the centre walk to shops and restaurants and places of work and rarely use a car, those on the outskirts always drive to these places which is why more carbon dioxide is used. There is of course the option to bike, but if your like me the roads are already so busy, biking is dangerous, especially in rush hour.

The queue of cars on the Tamworth road at 0800 in already causing me and my friends to cough from the fumes and the number of students in my school using inhalers is always increasing. Coventry Council are planning to put 13,000 more cars on these same roads, its just not fair! Can you imagine what 13,000 cars will be like outside your front door? My brother is 10 and he says this,

‘The traffic is already bad getting to my school, I cant imagine 13,000 more cars on these roads, they just cant take it.

.. I am doing my SATs this year and so are hundreds of other children in year 6. I can’t afford to be late all the time.’

It is the same for hospitals and GP surgeries. It takes 2 weeks to get an appointment at the moment how long will it be if anyone gets poorly with 13,000+ more patients? In A&E its a 6 hour queue how much longer will that be? It’s so much pressure to put on these places.

I am one voice and I am 13 years old but I really hope you can understand this and please help! Please save our greenbelt. There is so little left and so much will be destroyed that is of such value. Once it is gone you can not get it back, it will be gone forever and for what?

* The Save Our Green Belt Walk is on Sunday October 6 at 3pm. Meet at Hare & Hounds pub, Watery Lane, Keresley.

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