Campaigners gear up to save fields that inspired novel Watership Down – Daily News

Campaigners gear up to save fields that inspired novel Watership Down – Daily News


Green fields and woodland which inspired Watership Down are under threat from developers who want to build hundreds of homes there Thousands of fans flock to Sandleford Warren in Hampshire each year to follow in the footsteps of the novel’s gang of rabbits The woodland inspired author Richard Adams to pen his children’s classic – and this week the BBC aired a brand new adaptation   The new adaptation, voiced by Olivia Coleman and Ben Kingsley, carries Adams’ ecological message of the impact of destroying local wildlife habitats But a real-life tale of green destruction began in 2011 when plans were unveiled by Bloor Homes and Donnington New Homes to build 2,000 homes Share this article Share They applied to build on the Sandleford Warren on the outskirts of Newbury which borders an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty They were approved but disagreements over access, education and other infrastructure between the two developers and the council led to an impasse Two new applications were then submitted in April 2018 for 1,500 homes across the site The new development comes as demand for housing in West Berkshire rises and the council need to build new homes as part of its local plan The fate of the historic site will be decided by West Berkshire Council on January 31 Mr Adams said: ‘It is my firm belief that to build on the quiet meadows of Sandleford would be an ugly invasion, a nasty wound to one of the loveliest retreats in all Berkshire and Hampshire ‘I understand that houses need to be built, and that people need homes to live in ‘But any dispassionate examination of the situation leads to the emphatic conclusion that this land should not be built on ‘If Sandleford goes for development, it will be the thin end of the wedge.’Once an area of countryside has been broken into for development, the process continues until the whole area has been ruined I might be dead, but how will you feel about that?’ Locals say that the plans will destroy the ‘beauty’ of the area and will severely impact on tourism which the famous trail brings Peter Norman, from campaign group Say No to Sandleford, said he wasn’t expecting the new applications to be submitted so soon He said: ‘But that doesn’t alter the fact of the matter, which is that it’s come in far too late and we have lost green land on north Newbury as a result ‘There are no congratulations for anyone involved here. I hope it will prevent further green space from being consumed, but I doubt it ‘I’m still very much of the view that this is in the wrong place and will put an enormous strain on Newbury’s infrastructure ‘Mr Norman added that the group’s main objection was to the ‘adverse affect’ the development would have on the ‘historic landscape’ Jack Taylor, from the Woodland Trust, said the development could destroy historic ‘ancient woodland’ on the site Sam Cartwright, senior biodiversity and planning officer of the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust said the site was vital to preserve ecol the rare ecology of the site including rabbits He added: ‘We have objected to the building plans on the basis of the detrimental impact it will have on the habitat of local wildlife and made a series of recommendations including larger buffer zones* to protect the site’s ancient woodlands ‘Sandleford was accepted as a housing site in 2012 and the first homes on the site were envisaged to be completed by 2018 The message from Clover, voiced by Gemma Arterton, echos the voices of locals in the BBC Drama, who said: ‘There’s terrible evil in the world men will never rest till they’ve spoiled the Earth and destroyed the animals ‘ 

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