Stop the Development of Weekley Hall Wood, Kettering

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❗️WARNING - PLANNING APPLICATION - OBJECTIONS URGENTLY NEEDED❗️

A planning application has been submitted to Kettering Borough Council by Buccleuch Property Ltd which proposes the destruction of a sizeable part of the southern quadrant of Weekley Hall Wood and its adjoining wildflower meadow to the north of Kettering for the speculative development of warehouses.

Please lodge your objections at https://www.kettering.gov.uk/planningApplication/129566 by clicking 'comment on this application.' Guidelines for what to include in an objection are available here: https://www.kettering.gov.uk/…/comment_on_a_planning_appl…/2 and a template (including instructions) is here: https://bit.ly/348clsL

If approved, development will result in the loss of 4ha (40 000sq m) of young plantation woodland, a sizeable wildflower meadow, and several walking, running and cycling routes. This site is important from a human perspective as it provides easy access to a woodland and grassland site that borders the town. It is essential for residents' mental and physical wellbeing, and the loss of this community asset will have a grave impact on local access to wildlife and the outdoors.

This planning application is particularly galling as I, along with a colleague, hosted a community tree planting event in March at Wicksteed Park through Kettering Eco Group – an extraordinary popular event at which we planted 420 trees. It served to highlight people’s interest in protecting and reforesting local community spaces.

The parcel of Weekley Wood land is noted to have ’significant ecological value', as stated in ch. 9 ‘Ecology and Nature Conservation’ (9.117, p. 9-31) of the supporting documentation:

'It is considered that two of the field sections within the development area meet the necessary pre-requisite criteria for designation as Local Wildlife Sites (F2 West and F2 East). The grassland habitats on the site primarily showed characteristics of neutral grassland, with some calcareous indicator species. Several areas of grassland habitat to be lost are considered to be of significant ecological value at a county scale both in their own right, and combined as an assemblage.'

Link to the chapter in full: https://www.kettering.gov.uk/planx_downloads/Chapter_9___Ecology_and_Nature_Conservation.pdf

I have significant concerns about the scale of species loss due to deforestation and eradication of grassland habitat that will occur if the planning application is approved by KBC.

Please also note the adverse impacts on fauna stated on p. 9-57 of the above linked document: major adverse impact on bats, mixed plantation and semi-improved neutral grassland and moderate impact on breeding birds and reptiles. Grassland descriptions are also available on p. 9-30.

Since learning about the plans in late March, I have created this petition and had a Northants Telegraph article published on my opposition to development of the wood (https://www.northantstelegraph.co.uk/…/fury-woods-earmarked…). My colleague Dez Dell has recently been on BBC Radio Northampton discussing the plans. His interview can be listened to here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqpI1bFIu2A&feature=youtu.be 

Public notices were only tied to trees in the affected area on March 30th at a time when many people who typically frequent the site cannot access it due to coronavirus restrictions.

I sincerely hope that you can add your voice to the chorus for the benefit of local wildlife and general public alike. Thank you so much for any support you can offer, and I hope you are all keeping well in these challenging times. 

#SaveWeekleyHallWood