Wychwood Community Group

Working as a community to stop the development of 900 homes and re-open the Gorstyhill golf course

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Community Update – 14th August 2013

Wychwood Village CW2 Community GroupApologies for the more direct update, but we have to address a number of concerns that have been raised with us in the past few weeks which need clarification.

The first and most important matter is the state of Wychwood Village. We need to make it very clear that we as a Committee, acting on the behalf of the residents/locals/members, have in no way arranged for the unsightly ‘security measures’ now in place on the entrance road to the village. The simple fact of the matter is that we are extremely disappointed that between Haddon/Hunt and Bovis they feel it is satisfactory to place industrial concrete slabs and old tree roots in strategic positions around access points to the golf course. Yes, we accept that anything is better than the view of caravans parked on the land, but these measures must be in keeping with the location itself and not create an eyesore; this is unacceptable to us!

Not only that, but the general state of the site, the course itself and the country park are not at a standard which complies with the covenants in place to “maintain”. Peter Hunt (owner of Haddon Property Developments Ltd) may own the land, but that doesn’t give him/them the right to let it deteriorate at the cost of the residents who wish to enjoy the surrounding countryside.

With that in mind, we will be writing to Peter Hunt, Haddonand their representatives regarding the concrete slabs, plus a full list of maintenance work to carry out anda risk assessment to comply with. This information will also be supplied to the Parish Council and Cheshire East for enforcement. We as residents and locals have rights and the situation as it stands is totally unacceptable.

Our second topic is regarding security. We have at great length considered the options available to us to help firm up site security to prevent further ‘traveller’ invasions! Quite a few residents made the point that we should have something similar to Wychwood Park, i.e. security gates and visible presence.We have reviewed this and put together some costings, which in brief run at about £100k for barriers, personnel (as the barriers have to be manned), security hut, design, planning application. You then have to consider the cost of maintenance, and bearing in mind that most households already pay a service charge (depending on which phase on the development you are on), and some houses won’t or can’t afford to pay, the whole option becomes unviable, unless we have a benefactor?
We will of course address in other ways, such as securing access points as discussed above, plus we are looking at a neighbourhood watch scheme, in conjunction with Cheshire Police. If you have any other ideas of what we can do to help protect the village, please let us know.

On a lighter note, the BBC Radio Stoke open broadcast took place this morning and was a great success; we had quite a gathering of residents, locals, other groups and developers all sharing their views. We hope you managed to listen in, but if not, you can listen again here, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01d3vw8 (only available for 7 days).

Can we just say a thank you to the committee, residents and locals for taking time off work to attend and contribute to the show; to Alison for organising and to Carol and Gem for keeping everyone fuelled with butties and brews!

Not only did we fill the airwaves this morning, but the television this evening with appearances by Paul Burt (committee) and Janet Clowes (councillor) on BBC North West Tonight at 6.30pm. If you missed it, you can watch on iPlayer here, http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0387d92/North_West_Tonight_14_08_2013/.

We will have another update for you soon, but in the meantime, please make sure you have voted in our “What would you like to see happen with the Gorstyhill Golf Club land?” survey. It only takes one second and the data collected will really help us with a project we are pursuing.

Thanks for all your support.

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BBC Radio Stoke Outside Broadcast – Wednesday 14th August

Just a reminder that we are hosting BBC Radio Stoke for an outside broadcast on the morning of Wednesday 14th August; to highlight the amount of proposed developments in Cheshire East and the work of groups such as ours fighting them.

This will take place between 7am and 10am on the Wychwood Village car park.

Our very own committee members Andy Bailey and Paul Burt will be interviewed, as well as other key supports, plus those of other groups facing similar battles to our own.

It would be great if as many residents/locals can attend as possible to show support. We can’t promise you an interview (that will be decided by the presenters) but would be a good opportunity for a catch up with the committee members in attendance…and also to buy tickets for our up-coming Bond evening (separate email to follow on that key fund raising event).

We look forward to seeing you next Wednesday.

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Wychwood Wildlife Watch – Summer Newsletter

PDF version (with photos) can be found here.

Recently, it has been a very busy time and we would like to give you an update on where we are up to.

Over the last few months we have been surveying the area and are generating a good understanding of both the landscape and the environment, including the varied flora and fauna that inhabit it – and have made some amazing discoveries along the way.

The golf course is home to nearly 70 veteran Oak trees (not including those set within boundary hedgerows), many of which are between 2-300 years old or more. We also have long stretches of ancient hedgerows. These together with the many ponds and large swathes of unmanaged grassland make this an increasingly rare environment for the UK. These grasslands support masses of insects including many species of butterfly and bees – both of which are known to be under serious threat. We have already recorded many key and protected species, some expected, and some such as a regular Oyster Catcher are not!

If further development is allowed on this site all this will be lost forever…

Our environment is valuable not only for us, but also to a wider ecological network stretching from Barthomley and Englesea Brook, through Wychwood and onto Weston and beyond. Two recent reports highlight the value of sites such as ours: ‘making Space for Nature’ (Lawton, 2010) and the ‘State of Nature’ launched by Sir David Attenborough on May 22nd this year. Both highlight concerns over the erosion of our countryside. In fact the ‘State of Nature’ report laments the decline of 60% of species studied over recent decades. Much of this is due to habitat loss. Diverse environments such as ours are key areas to protect.

In the next few weeks we will be organising activities including a talk by a local barn owl group, an introductory bat walk and talk, an introduction to a survey you can help us with and a social walk to enjoy our environment. Dates and times will be sent out soon!

Many of us see the bats flying around our gardens and the park each night; there is a link below to a sunrise and sunset survey if you fancy getting up early or watching them at dusk. If you do then please also let us know your results!

We also, as you may know already, have our film underway. There is a good collection of film clips and photographs (including those on this newsletter) which will soon be edited and set to a soundtrack for release. If you have any pictures you would like to send in, please contact us. These pictures are of enormous importance as we now have great evidence of how abundant and varied the wildlife is here. Should the proposed development end up at appeal in Westminster the intrinsic value of this site, its ecology and context in the wider landscape will be evident. As will our determination to protect it.

Whilst surveying or enjoying the nature surrounding us please remember it is very important we keep off of the golf course – especially the long unmanaged grass areas, preferably keeping to the country park perimeter or the public rights of way. Keeping off the golf course will ensure we do not damage key wildlife habitats.

It is especially important to keep dogs off the course please!

Why? We are seeing a boom in wildlife since the heavy golf course management has been relaxed; we need this to continue undisturbed. By staying off we are all helping to build the biodiversity and are increasing the ecological value of the site way beyond that of farmland. This will be a very strong argument against further development here in the future.

Please do record any wildlife you have seen; we are working to compile a database of everything that lives here, so telling us about bats, birds or butterflies for instance would be perfect. Just log the time and dates and let us know! It is a great thing for the kids to do over the summer too, especially if the weather remains good. This is a magical place and a resource for the entire extended community to enjoy, so get out and take a look!

Lastly if you want to join in with the group, you are very welcome. We have been getting together most weeks and working on quite a few different projects, it has been an amazing experience for us all. As mentioned earlier, there will soon be a session to introduce those interested to a simple survey we have designed that you can take part in whenever you have time over the next year and beyond. This will help add to a database of valuable information and be something different to do.

Wychwood is a real jewel in the Cheshire East crown and we are working hard to keep it that way…Keep an eye out for future events!

Wychwood Wildlife Watch: wychwoodwildlifewatch@gmail.com
CW2 Community Group: cw2 [at] wychwoodvillage.co.uk

Bat survey
Butterfly survey
Various surveys