Luke Court

The local Conservative Party’s prospective candidate for Winyates has joined Councillors Anthony Lovell and Peter Fleming in speaking out against the proposed Mappleborough Woods development. The area is currently home to many native trees and scrub, besides the many Poplars as well as being a foraging site and home for 8 species of bat and 3 red listed species of bird.

The area of land is off Far Moor Lane and straddles Stratford-on-Avon. In 2017, the Labour-controlled Council used their majority to designate this land for development. The local Conservatives at the time strongly believed that this area of land should be designated as an Area of Development Restraint (ADR), meaning the current housing application would not have been possible had the Labour Party on Redditch Borough Council at the time (2017) not forced it through into the Local Plan, which is now sealed.

Prior to the 2017 Local Plan (No. 4) adopted under Labour control the land in question was already designated as ADR. The application to build houses on this land was submitted by Morris Homes on 29th December 2020 with a determination deadline of 16th April 2021.

Speaking in a statement posted to his Facebook Page, Luke Court said:

Mappleborough Woods Site
Aerial view of the site. Courtesy Google Maps.

“Firstly, I am not opposing these houses for the sake of it. Housing is in short supply, and most would agree that we need to build homes nationally. However, we need such homes to be built in the right places, and Winyates Green isn’t the ‘right place’.”

He added:

“The additional pressure that will be placed on public services and infrastructure will be considerable.”

Luke has launched a local survey to gather resident opinion on the development so he can represent their views. Residents are also encouraged to have their say on the development – whether for or against – on the Planning Portal.

Councillor Anthony Lovell, who has a strong track record on environmental and ecological issues, said:

“8 different species of Bat have been found here according to the ecology report and a random usually very elusive grass snake. I don’t believe we can mitigate against this wildlife loss. The offering of Bat boxes and planting of amenity trees will not replace the habitat for the diverse interactions of organisms present on site.”

Councillor Lovell has published a video that explores the area and its biodiversity – see below:

Councillor Peter Fleming also opposes the development and is encouraging people to register their objections.

Justin Kerridge, a Conservative representative in the Stratford-on-Avon Association, has made a public comment on the proposals, saying:

“The white study on landscape sensitivity commissioned by SDC is very clear that the Stratford district land area is unsuitable for development as it is highly sensitive.”