Campaigners are challenging a decision by Fenland District Council to designate ‘an historic and irreplaceable piece of Chatteris landscape’ for housing development.
The ‘Save Wenny Meadow’ group believes proposed development of a field known as ‘Wenny Meadow will be an act of ‘historical vandalism’.
The group, which has been set by a small band of townspeople earlier this month, has already gathered over 300 supporters following public drop-in sessions at the library and via social media.
The group is challenging the decision by Fenland District Council to designate land to the east of Wenny Road as suitable for development. Developers Canon Kirk have outline plans for a development of 350 houses in the cluster of fields, and campaigners believe they will be applying for full planning permission shortly.
One of the group’s founders Hilary Bailey said: “At the heart of the area is a piece of land informally known as ‘Wenny Meadow’ - it is that piece of land we want to save.
“We are realistic and understand that we won’t be able to save the whole area, but we’re hoping we can compromise by saving this particular field for the people of the town to enjoy.
“It is already recognised that Chatteris is under provided for in terms of natural green space, so the loss of this meadow will be a big blow to all those who enjoy using it.
“The campaign is still in its infancy but its already gathering support with over 300 people joining our Facebook page, which shows the strength of feeling. We are contacting the National Lottery to see if we can get funding to purchase the land and make it an endowed space for the town.
“There are six fields in all that are designated for development, we just want one. We realise trying to save the whole lot will smack of nimbyism and won’t help our cause.
“This meadow is irreplaceable once it is gone, that’s it it’s gone forever. The land was designated for development in Fenland District Council’s 2014 plan, but there was very little public consultation. The plan says development should benefit new and existing residents, but removing the meadow from the public doesn’t benefit the people.”
The field the campaigners want to save is bordered by a spinney which runs alongside Wenny Road, beyond Wenny Corner, and is home to grazing horses, mature hedgerows and ancient trees that provide a habitat for many species of wildlife.
Campaigners say the meadow is one of the last surviving examples of the medieval ‘ridge and furrow’ landscape in this area, which they say not onlymakes it a a very special place, but also provides a real link with the town’s ancient past that will be lost forever if these plans go ahead.
Criss-crossed by natural paths, the land is used as a regular walking route by many Chatteris residents who enjoy the countryside feel of the meadow.
The group believes that to build on this land would be “a travesty and an act of historical vandalism”.
Chatteris residents are encouraged to support this view by writing Fenland Council to request a review of the local plan.
The group has identified several points of policy which render the land unsuitable for building, and are seeking a review of the Fenland Plan, to adopt the land as Designated Local Green Space, as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework. The Group has also prepared a resource pack which gives guidance on composing a letter. This can be downloaded from the group’s Facebook page, Save Wenny Road Meadow. For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org.