LETTER: Group forms in bid to save Wenny Meadow, Chatteris

A campaign has been started to save Wenny Park in Chatteris.

A campaign has been started to save Wenny Park in Chatteris. - Credit: Archant

A historic and irreplaceable piece of the Chatteris landscape may soon be lost forever.

Wenny Meadow, one of the few open spaces in Chatteris, has been earmarked for housing development - something that will destroy a valuable piece of the town’s heritage enjoyed by local residents for centuries.

The Save Wenny Meadow Group, dedicated to preserving this piece of land for all the townspeople, launched its campaign in early October with a series of successful ‘drop-in’ sessions at Chatteris Library attended by dozens of residents.

They are now urging townspeople to join the campaign to save this rare and precious landscape. The group is challenging the decision by Fenland District Council to designate land to the east of Wenny Road, Chatteris, as suitable for development.

Developers Canon Kirk have outline plans for a development of 350 houses in this cluster of fields, and they will be applying for full planning permission shortly.

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At its heart is a particularly special parcel of land, which has been informally named ‘Wenny Meadow’ for the purposes of this campaign.

This field is bordered by a spinney which runs alongside Wenny Road, beyond Wenny Corner. Home to grazing horses, mature hedgerows and ancient trees that provide a habitat for many species of wildlife, the meadow is one of the last surviving examples of the medieval ‘ridge and furrow’ landscape in this area.

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This makes it not only a very special place, but also provides a real link with the town’s ancient past that will be lost forever if these plans go ahead. Criss-crossed by natural paths, the land is used as a regular walking route by many Chatteris residents who enjoy the countryside feel of the meadow.

The Save Wenny Meadow Group believes that to build on this land would be a travesty and an act of historical vandalism.

Whilst the proposed development intends to retain a portion of the meadow as managed green space, it will also truncate the long vistas, run an access road alongside the remaining space, add formal paths, and surround what’s left by houses.

The group believes this would utterly destroy the essence of this unique and beautiful space.

Chatteris is surrounded by intensively farmed land which is not conducive to recreational walking. This small slice of natural beauty is an oasis of tranquillity. It would make a perfect nature reserve for a town which is already “deficient in natural green space” (Cambridgeshire Green Infrastructure survey, 2011).

The group is encouraging Chatteris residents who support this view to write to Fenland District Council to request a review of the local plan which earmarked this beautiful space for development.

They have identified several points of policy which render the land unsuitable for building, and are seeking a review of the Fenland Plan, to adopt the land as Designated Local Green Space, as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework.

The group has also prepared a resource pack which gives guidance on composing a letter. This can be downloaded from the group’s Facebook page, Save Wenny Road Meadow.

Or, for more information, please email the group on savewennyroadmeadow@mail.com.

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