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Children join fight to save Wenny Meadow with letter writing campaign

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More than 50 children aged between four and 13 have written to Fenland District Council to ask them to save Wenny Road Meadow from development.

Plans to build 93 houses on the former Manor Park are due to be considered by Fenland District Council soon.

They join 340 adults who have already written to to object to the plans. This is thought to be a record number of written objections against a single planning application within Fenland.

From left: Evelyn (back), Henry, Darius, Amelia, Miya, Beatrice, Jessica, Sophia, Florence and Jacob with their letters. Photo: Rob Morris.
From left: Evelyn (back), Henry, Darius, Amelia, Miya, Beatrice, Jessica, Sophia, Florence and Jacob with their letters. Photo: Rob Morris.

Last month, Girl Guide Evelyn Patterson urged Chatteris Town Council to object to the proposals. Determined to give other children a voice, she created letter templates and spoke to Rainbows, Brownies, and Guides about the fate of the much-loved meadow.

Meanwhile, Jacob Patterson, Henry Cole, and Ruan Potgeiter spoke to 2nd Chatteris Beavers and Cubs. They also urged their school friends to write to the council.

Fenland has now been sent in excess of 50 letters from local children.

On Saturday (2) children representing Glebelands Primary Academy, Kingsfield Primary School, Cromwell Community College, 1st Chatteris Guides, 6th Chatteris Brownies, 3rd Chatteris Brownies, 3rd Chatteris Rainbows, Chatteris District Rainbows, 2nd Chatteris Cubs, and 2nd Chatteris Beavers met to talk about their campaign.

The children were joined by Councillor Hilary Cox Condron, vice-chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s communities, social mobility and inclusion committee and a board member of Natural Cambridgeshire.

Coun Condron listened to each of the children talk about their views on the meadow, why they think it’s important, and what it means to them. She spent an hour in Wenny Meadow talking to parents and passing walkers about the plans.

Coun Cox Condron said: “How wonderful to meet these young campaigners in Chatteris and hear about the letters, council speeches, leafleting and petitioning they have been doing to share how important Wenny Road Meadow is to them as they fight to save it from development.

“As an artist I work with children to explore, connect with and celebrate the nature on our doorsteps. We know how important being in nature is for the development of our children: for wellbeing, for health, for connections to the environment and to start to understand (to really feel) our place in the ecosystem.

"Being in nature impacts on education, crime reduction and social mobility. Children run and climb trees - they learn to take risks, build resilience, make up fantastical stories and look out for each other. They learn to take care of the nature they love… isn’t that what we are telling them all the time? Isn't that what they have to do?

“We talk about the importance of loving where you live, taking care of neighbours, developing a strong sense of ‘place’. Then so easily dismiss local concerns and campaigns as NIMBYism, when taking care of our back yard is exactly what we should be doing. Or as Roy Hopkins wrote - don’t be a NIMBY, be a SWIMBY - and fight for Something Wonderful In My Backyard.”

A spokesman for Chatteris Town Council which has supported the application said: "The meadow is privately owned land. If you look closely at the plans you will sill see that most of the trees are being retained, and new ones are being planted."

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