Activists who fought to save Peterborough green space from flats face new battle
Local activists who campaigned for over a year to ensure that land known as Tenter Hills Meadow would not be developed may have a new fight on their hands.
The residents of Stanground had seemingly won their long battle to protect Tenter Hill Meadow when an appeal to build 28 flats on the public open space was dismissed in mid-September.
The appeal had been issued by Medesham Homes, a joint housing venture between Peterborough City Council and Cross Keys Homes, despite the council’s own planning committee initially refusing the application.
However, as former councillor John Whitby explained: “We may have won the fight to prevent Tenter Hills Meadow from being developed on, but we now need to get the area back to the community so they can use it as they have in the past.
“The council have stopped cutting the grass, so people find it harder to use the meadow properly. The scouts, whose hut has sat on the edge of this land for the last 40 years, can’t use the meadow for their activities if the grass is too long.
“Any other piece of open use, council-owned land would be mowed on a regular basis; but because they’ve had their noses bloodied by people power fighting to keep a small patch of green space safe for future generations, they’ve left the grass to grow wild, and soon it may be impossible or even dangerous to use the land.
“I’ve launched a new online petition to get the council to remove the biodiversity label from parts of the site. Then we can have the upper and lower areas of the meadow cut to allow recreational use, and leave selected areas to be natural and wild as it was in the past.”
The petition states: “We ask you to sign this petition to press the council to remove the current biodiversity status, and for regular grass cutting to recommence, allowing the area to be enjoyed by all as a much needed recreational resource.
“Peterborough City Council have effectively demonstrated that this area is not required as a biodiversity site by supporting plans for a housing development here, therefore that status should be amended.”
As a former city councillor Mr Whitby pointed all of this out at a council meeting some months ago, but at that time the focus was on appealing against the flats Medesham Homes wanted to build there.
Mr Whitby added: “I know we have well over 300 signatures online so far, and there’s a paper version doing the rounds at the same time. I’ve spoken with the leaders of the Scouts and they’re on-board with it too.
“Local people managed to get an astonishing 3,620 signatures on our original petition; if we can get anywhere near that again I’ll be very pleased.
“The plan would be for Tenter Hills Meadow to be an open ‘mixed use’ area, both managed and wild so that everyone can get something out of it, especially the local children who would have somewhere to run wild and play in relative safety.
“These are things that we as citizens simply have to do in order to protect land from being lost.”
Speaking from her home just metres from the protected meadowland, Pat Corcoran, who started the Save Tenter Hills Meadow Campaign, said: “We’ve shown that people power can win out over big developers and their plans.
“Now, having won all of our battles, and eventually even the war, we need to secure the peace.”
The online petition at www.change.org is called: ‘Reverse the Biodiversity order on Tenter Hills Meadow’, and can be found at:
Robert Alexander, Local Democracy Reporting Service