Another one bites the dust

There it goes. Land at Conyer earmarked for development Copyright: N Chadwick

There it goes. Land at Conyer earmarked for development
Copyright: N Chadwick

Last night I travelled to Conyer Creek. There is a spot on the wall of the old brickfields where you can sit and with a view down the river and hear the nightingales sing. Last night one sang it’s full repertoire, whistling and syruping and twizzling amidst the scrub. It is the last spring that a nightingale will sing from this spot. It is the last spring I can sit at the bend of the creek and see the shelduck fly to the marshes. Conyer Creek, along with seemingly every other little scrubby delight in Kent, has been given over to development.

A company called Pod Architects is developing 24 luxury homes on the site. Twenty Four? I very much doubt this will be the affordable housing the government dupes us into thinking it is supplying. Instead it will be twenty four wealthy people owning second homes with a view of the creek, twenty four portfolio holders buying them up and renting them out at stupid prices.

How can this happen? How can permission be given for the destruction of a site that is so valuable for wildlife when it will only build 24 homes? Of course this part of Conyer is a brownfield site. useless, valueless in the eyes of many, except this is nonsense. Many brownfield sites are highly valuable to wildlife, irreplaceable for insects, reptiles and all those little birds flying across from Africa in the spring only to find the places they traditionally breed given over to hideous toy town developments of fake fishing cottages.

Everywhere I look these sites are going. Conyer Creek destroyed, Bakers Field, a scrubby patch of land at the end of my road where little owls hunts and orchids bloom, threatened, Lodge Hill, the best nightingale site we have, not yet safe. At the same time, on the outskirts of our towns, super large retail developments with mega car parks are built. It does not add up. Does any town centre in the entire country really need another supermarket? Wouldn’t this land be better used for housing? Wouldn’t it be bet to tackle the real problems, over population and too many second homes lying idle all week?

But of course, no government has the stomach for that, and certainly not the current bunch with their hands in developers pockets. It makes me want to weep, it makes me want to emigrate, it makes me want to find a time portal and whip back to another age when we valued our countryside more. Instead I plod  on, into a future where ugly ribbon developments spread out from our towns and we sit in gridlocked in traffic at weekends, trying to escape into a countryside which once existed on our doorsteps.

8 thoughts on “Another one bites the dust

  1. It seems very sad that for the sake of profit we must mess around with these “wild” places. As you say, with the current lot in power this will happen more and more.

    • yes, I agree. It makes you feel very powerless. I am thinking of joining Buglife as it seems one of the few wildlife charities campaigning against the loss of important brownfield sites.

      • Do join Buglife, they do indeed fight a good fight for brownfields but with limited finances!

  2. bound to go unfortunately – the Thames corridor brownfields are of exceptional importance for invertebrate conservation but are falling one by one to the developers. When at Natural England, I tipped off Buglife about the Isle of Grain National Grid application (100+ ha of prime decades old brownfield) and they ended up taking it to court – more will be saved than if they hadn’t but its generally a developer white wash I’m afraid. Well done for highlighting

    • Thanks for your comments. It is going to be a hard five years I fear and Natural England have had the life sucked out of them. I will join Buglife, thanks for spurring me on.

      • Hi Carol, great to see you and your mum at Hornchurch Country Park, I can see where your get your ‘gift of the gab from’ ! When at Elmley I visited with Mike Edwards (national bee expert) over there and we marvelled at the diversity and numbers. The Local Council knows of its value too, The quarry company were keen on maintaining the habitat, it was outstanding. Buglife also know of the site and may have done a site visit. I am a member and they are great, but small. Is all the site going for a few rich b…….. benefit?
        nice blogs, Barry O’ Dowd

      • Hi Barry, Great to see you too. I am joining Buglife as they seem the main charity campaigning against the loss of brownfield sites. Some of Conyer has been protected but all the edge alongside the river is being ruined. According to a women I met on the site they were planning to begin removing the scrub in June, right in the middle of the breeding season, nice work by whoever did the environmental assessment on this site!

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