Nightingales Not Second Homes
Nightingales Not Second Homes
Who are we?
Reydon Action Group for the Environment (RAGE) is a group of 150 concerned local people dismayed at the prospect of losing a cherished Suffolk landscape to inappropriate housing and outraged at the cavalier attitude shown by planners in approving a development which is contrary to Council and national planning policies.
Members of RAGE outside Waveney Council offices
is about protecting the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty from wanton destruction at the hands of Council planners.
If you care about the natural environment and believe that the AONB should be protected from over development, please contribute whatever you can NOW to our fighting fund. Please contribute now and share this page with your friends, family and on social media.
Waveney District Council has recently granted outline planning permission to the private St Felix School to build 69 houses on these playing fields at Reydon near Southwold.
The playing fields and adjacent equestrian area form one of the last surviving remnants of the ancient Reydon Common.
The development (hatched yellow on plan below) will extend the Reydon village footprint into open countryside.
The environmental damage will include the partial destruction of this avenue of holm oaks (supposedly protected by tree preservation orders) which will be cut through for new road access
The existing playing field will be relocated to what is now an adjacent equestrian course and, more importantly, part of a County Wildlife Site with rare heathland habitats sloping down to the marshes of the river Blyth estuary. This will mean the levelling of the site and the removal of all existing vegetation.
The County Wildlife Site is species rich. Birds seen include barn and tawny owls and this nightingale
Fauna seen in the CWS includes this grass snake (a protected species)
The site is close to European protected habitat sites at Walberswick and Easton Bavents. Waveney Planners have approved a 'mitigation strategy' to reduce or avoid recreational damage to those sites. This strategy, incredibly, involves destroying existing habitat in and around the County Wildlife Site in order to create city park type dog-walking areas . This makes no sense.
The houses that will be built will not benefit local people. They will be too expensive. Like other recent developments in the area, they will become second homes and holiday lets in an area which already has an unsustainable proportion of both.
The Planning Decision
The decision by Waveney planners ignored local and national planning policy, ignored the legal protection given to AONBs, ignored the views of consultees and local residents and ignored Waveney's own procedures.
The justification was that the housing estate would be 'enabling development' which would enable the school to fund improvements which it might otherwise be unable to afford. But this will mean private gain at the expense of the public interest.
The concept of 'enabling development' is a legal loophole increasingly used by developers to override planning policy and allow development at the expense of the natural environment.
The Government's National Planning Policy Framework says that "great weight should be given to conserving landscape and scenic beauty in ... Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty which have the highest status of protection ..."
If this decision is allowed to stand, not only will we lose a valued part of the AONB but developers locally and nationally will take this as a green light to build on protected landscapes. The legal protection will be shown to be worthless.
What do we want?
Local councillor David Beavan says:
“This proposal does not provide social benefit to compensate us for the loss of playing fields and open space in an environmentally sensitive area. Poor planning process has inevitably led to a poor planning decision, and it must be put right.”
We want to have the planning decision quashed by judicial review. If we succeed, not only will a part of the AONB have been preserved but perhaps more importantly a clear message will have been sent to planners and developers that the legal protections enshrined in the National Planning Policy Framework and elsewhere will be upheld and due process followed.
How can you help?
We urgently need to raise £3,000 to cover the cost of a barrister's opinion and start legal action.
Please contribute and share this page with your friends and contacts.
What happens next?
Subject to our barrister's opinion, we will start judicial review proceedings against Waveney later this month. First we have to apply to the Court for permission to proceed. We will then start our full case.
What happens after that depends on the Council. We hope that commencement of legal proceedings may start a dialogue with Waveney. If not, and with your support, we will have to carry on to trial.
For More Information
Please visit facebook.com/reydonrage for more information on RAGE and the campaign.
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