Orchard victory

Bumper apple crop. news kn.apple grower David Wheatley, 29, and daughter Charlotte Wheatley, 2, of willock fm, wisbech st mary, following a bumper crop.
Bumper apple crop. news kn.apple grower David Wheatley, 29, and daughter Charlotte Wheatley, 2, of willock fm, wisbech st mary, following a bumper crop.
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Fenland MP Steve Barclay has welcomed a council decision to block plans for four new bungalows on one of the longest-standing Orchards in Manea.

The MP made representations to Fenland District Council’s planning department after local residents voiced concerns over the impact the planned development could have on wildlife at the site on land west of Keswick, Station Road. The decades-old orchard has apple, pear and damson trees.

Mr Barclay was delighted to learn that planning permission to build the properties has been rejected by the council.

He said: “This decision to save one of the oldest Orchards in Manea marks a great victory for local residents in their opposition to plans to build four new properties.

“This orchard has been producing fruit for decades and continues to do so to this day. Traditional orchards are vital for the ecosystem of rural areas likes the Fens and provide a historic link to our agricultural heritage.

“Residents were not only concerned about the impact that the development would have on the local wildlife which relies on the orchard but also the potential effect of building works on the local community.

“As a supporter of preserving our local green spaces, it is a great relief to see that the views of local people are being taken into consideration when planning decisions are made at council level.”

A local resident has identified over 37 species of bird including sparrow hawks, great tits, thrushes and woodpeckers who are regular visitors to conifer trees on the land.

Figures show that land cultivated for orchards in England has declined by 57% since 1950.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has highlighted the ecological value of orchards as priority habitats as part of the UK Biodoversity Action plan.