Friday, 10 December 2010

The 'Battle for the Green Wedge' has entered a new phase (is it the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?)

Over the past few years the has been much talk about the development of a tract of land which forms a natural green border between the villages of Whitwick, Swannington and Thringstone and the town of Coalville.

The land has come to be known as The Green Wedge and organised objection to any development has become the focal point of the Whitwick Action Group, a body with a substantial membership who were established to campaign in particular on this issue.

During those years locals have known that it would be likely that at some point a formal planning application for housing development would be forthcoming. At last that time is here and for WAG and other interested residents the campaigning must now become even more vociferous.

Yesterday, 9 December 2010, an application was made to North West Leicestershire District Council to build 1,500 homes on the land.

Now, I have not yet seen that application (and to my knowledge it is not yet in the public domain) but it is indisputable that if approved the Green Wedge will be destroyed and the individual communities of Thringstone, Swannington and Whitwick in particular will be absorbed into the Coalville urban core and will lose their sense of identity forever.

This should not be allowed to happen and the reason is this.

Opposition to development is nothing to do with being a NIMBY, and yes, within the district new housing is needed. However, those three villages have long histories going back to the middle ages and therefore my question is do we really want to be the last generation to know them as historic villages instead of being a forgotten part of urban sprawl? Each village has a sense of community and residents justifiably fear that this will be lost if major development takes place.

At the next district council elections I hope to be standing as a Labour candidate for Thringstone. Whilst I cannot begin to presume to speak for the party as a whole what I can say is this:

I will do everything within my power to object against the development of The Green Wedge, and I mean that sincerely - not in a Liberal Democrat kind of way!

Now, I am sure over the coming months the rhetoric is going to increase from some local councillors about how they will object to development (probably directly correlating to the pressure emanating from residents). Some councillors may even make a point that they are the only ones objecting to development.

It is important that local residents know and bear in mind this single fact when it comes to next years elections.

Councillors are free to express their opinion and even campaign on this (usually in accordance with their party grouping), however, Councillors who serve on the planning committee are obligated to keep an open mind until a decision is made.

In the run up to the election residents of Whitwick in particular should remember that two of their councillors are on that planning committee and therefore cannot make comments about whether development should take place otherwise they cannot be part of the decision making process.

Whitwick people need to remember that not all candidates at the elections will be on the same level playing field when it comes to campaigning.

The Whitwick Action Group has done a great job and now is the time for local people to unite and object to this unwanted development.

1 comment:

  1. Note: Blog edited to say 1,500 homes (not 2,500 as previously)