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We have objected to the Friends of Baddesley Common’s plan to construct a pond on the common, near Atherstone in north Warwickshire.
We have sent an objection to North Warwickshire District Council, because the pond will be detrimental to the existing landscape, will result in the loss of a rare habitat, and will interfere with the rights of the public to walk on the common.
Baddesley Common is a very special place, an important green lung for local people.
It is lowland acid grassland which, accordingly to the Warwickshire Biodiversity Action Plan, is ‘extremely rare and not extensive in Warwickshire’. Baddesley Common is cited as one of the most extensive remaining areas of lowland acid grassland in the county. The pond will destroy this. Not surprisingly therefore, Natural England, the government’s adviser on conservation, has said it will object.
The Friends will have to fell trees to make way for the pond, with an adverse effect on the landscape, and they will erect temporary fencing (which could become permanent). Furthermore, the public has a right to walk over the whole area, and people enjoy the common for informal recreation. The pond will interfere with that right.
Says Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary: ‘We are sorry that the Friends seem unaware that, as the land is registered common land, they will need consent from the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for any works here—in addition to any planning permission. We are by law notified by the Secretary of State of such applications and we shall object, because the pond will have an adverse effect on nature conservation, the landscape and public access.
‘I am sure that the Friends are well intentioned and want to do the best for the common, but we do feel this pond to be a mistake.
‘It’s a pity that the Friends did not bother to consult us about the proposed development. We hope the council will reject it. If it does not, we shall press the Secretary of State to refuse the ensuing application for works on common land,’ Kate declares.