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22nd Sep, 2021

Rallying call to save woodland from housing development

Ross Crawford 19th Feb, 2021

“LET’S fight this!” – that’s the message from a Redditch Borough Councillor over plans to cut down a woodland and build 265 houses there instead.

Councillor Anthony Lovell (Con, Winyates) has hit out in a series of videos posted on Facebook in which he describes the precious natural environment which will be lost should the Morris Homes development – ironically named ‘Mappleborough Woods’ – goes ahead on land bordering the A435 between Winyates Green and Mappleborough Green.

“It’s ludicrous to think so many tonnes of trees will be removed – what can I say? It’s heartbreaking,” said Coun Lovell, who holds the borough’s climate change portfolio.

The land was identified as ripe for development in Redditch’s controversial ‘Local Plan 4’ of 2016.

A portion of the land is also in Stratford District and was earmarked for development by that authority under its ‘duty to co-operate’ with a projected housing shortfall in Birmingham.

However Coun Lovell said it was wrong to destroy a natural environment like a woodland when there were alternatives – like spent arable land – which would be much more suitable for development.

“Realistically I think it will be difficult to stop this development but we have to try,” he said.

“There’s a lot of species of birds in the wood and deer, and I know the developers have got their own ecologists who can put the mitigating circumstances, but I wish instead we could use old arable land.

“Some of the soil on that sort of land is so depleted that it’s dead, with no worms in it and no activity and better for development.

“I know people want the infrastructure but I would rather we take up some old arable land on the south side of Redditch and leave this parcel of land alone.”

He added that all the displaced wildlife in ‘Mappleborough Woods’ would increase competition with other species, leading to an inevitable to loss of life.

“I just think in this day and age, when we know so much more about the natural environment, that building 265 houses here is a backward step,” said Coun Lovell.

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