#SaveSpringfield Old Railway Allotments & #Savetheslowworms!
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UPDATE: OCTOBER 2017
The old railway allotments between Springfield Road and London Road station, home to a wealth of wildlife and a much-loved conservation area in the heart of the city, has been destroyed. As residents and friends of Springfield Road and the surrounding community we are asking for support in protecting this!
We are not fighting housing, Brighton and Hove (like much of the rest of the UK) is in dire need of affordable housing. We are fighting irresponsible and unethical developments and housing which appear to have a severe lack of regard for local community and wildlife, and Brighton and Hove councils lack of engagement with the local community in regards to planning and developments.
Behind our homes there's a small piece of conservation land that was recently obliterated. Much to our dismay, a developer recently bought the land with planning permission, and hastily chopped down all the woodland just before Christmas 2016 without any prior notice to the local residents or the community and plans to build four houses, immediately beside the rail track and Open House pub. There is a long-standing history between the plot of land and residents fighting to save it, and this is a final push!
o Protecting the environment: Alongside the bats, birds, badgers, hedgehogs and foxes that all call this site their home, slow-worm (a protected species) have lived on this piece of land for many years and they were in abundance last summer/autumn, as they always are. There are strict regulations for developers to follow and one of those regulations is to complete a survey to prove whether or not slow-worm are in residence. Slow-worms hibernate from October, and this is when the developers chose to do the survey – perhaps something to do with them only acquiring the land one week prior to this – and a condition stating that any development must commence before March when the planning permission expires. The company who conducted the reptile survey (in late Oct-early Nov) decided there were no slow-worm present because none decided to pop up and say hello. They were in hibernation, deep down in the ground...! Further to this bat and bird boxes are supposed to be put up as part of the strict regulations of the planning permission, currently nothing has been done to provide any homes for the wildlife that has been destroyed.
* Under a council loop hole- the initial March deadline of the planning permission expiring appears to of simply been waivered by the council, adding again to the council prioritising the needs of the developers over the local residents. However, a process of slow worm relocation has recently taken place, which is a minor victory as it potentially could have been too late after the destruction of the site by removal of tree roots earlier in the year. There is still nothing in place, or any plans have been shared with local residents from the council or the developers in regards to the bat and bird boxes etc to help the other wildlife
o Support and involvement from relevant parties of BHCC: Residents have not been consulted in regards to planning permission on the site since 2012, (and has not appeared in many land searches) over 4 years ago…before many of the current residents directly affected lived there. We have been informed that the council have “no obligation” to inform residents of plans. This is not fair and would like this policy reviewed for the benefit of the community for future developments. These conservation areas are vital to the biodiversity of Brighton and Hove. There are huge concerns for public safety when the land becomes a building site given its location.
*We are still yet to receive any public information from the local council in regards to the plans, the impact and safety to the local community that this development will have.
o Cooperation from the developers: We are asking Parker Dann to ensure their clients conduct the development in a responsible and respectful manner for both the environment and community. To date there has been major disregard for both of these. Besides the severe lack of morality in destroying a conservation area and building four houses practically on a train line and pub garden purely for financial gain, there are major concerns regarding the impact of their actions on the local environment and disregard for local residents. Involve us, share the plans, talk with us.
*Again, we are still yet to receive any public information from Parker Dann in regards to the plans, the impact and safety to the local community that this development will have.
The community are fighting this, and we will continue to fight. The piece of land was an oasis of woodland, shrubbery and wildlife. Now it's a barren site - we hope it can be saved, and at the very least, we want the developers to strictly adhere to all conditions going forward.
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