Sunday, 23 January 2011

A great day of community action from WAG

I have just got back home from attending the 'Whitwick Action Group' (WAG) open day at the Methodist Church in Whitwick and I feel I must blog to say what an inspirational event it was.

WAG are dedicated to fighting against development on designated green wedge between Coalville and the villages of Whitwick, Thringstone and Swannington and they really are organised in taking their fight to the builders.

Todays event was about awareness building, all about letting the local community know that an outline planning application has been submitted for the so-called 'Stephensons Green' and just as importantly letting people know how they can object to the development.

To be frank I was astonished at the turnout. In the short time I was there there must have been around 100 people visiting and the level of anger and distress about the possible loss of the green space was unanimous.

Some might say that WAG is about NIMBYism, but on the basis of today I can write unequivocally that this isn't the case.

There wasn't one person I spoke to that didn't acknowledge that Coalville needs regeneration, which undoubtedly goes hand in hand with development. What WAG are saying is that that development shouldn't come at the expense of the loss of much loved countryside and just as importantly village heritage but rather complement it.

There are plots of land in and around Coalville which are ripe for development (such as the already outline approved Bardon development), it's just that the wedge isn't it.

Building on the green wedge will mean that historic villages will be absorbed into the Coalville urban area and much of their identity and culture will be lost forever.

I need to be clear this issue isn't about party politics. Councillors of all colours were in attendance and whilst, for example, I would never be in agreement with the wider views of BNP Councillor Mellor on this issue it would seem that we concur.

In fact, on the basis of today, it would seem folly for anyone standing for Council in Whitwick to campaign FOR development on the wedge, even if their wider political grouping were in favour of it.

A big thank you to WAG for organising such a fantastic event. You have really shown today what a community can do if you get organised.

If you want to know more about WAG just look up 'Whitwick Action Group' on Facebook.

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