October 21st, 2016

Countryside being lost say protesters

Updated: 1:06 pm, Sep 23, 2016

FRUSTRATED Southam residents fear they may be losing the battle to protect their countryside.

Barwood Land is looking to build 175 homes on park land near Welsh Road West.

Under the proposals, some 30 acres of land close to the Stowe Valley area and the town’s Holy Well has been earmarked for the homes and public open park space.

The developers say the park land will be transferred into community ownership helping “protect it from possible future development.”

But some residents have raised concerns the new homes would destroy areas of natural beauty and historical significance including the Holly Well – believed to be the most ancient holy well in England, first mentioned in the Domesday book of 1086.

They also maintain the town has already taken its fair share of homes and is growing too rapidly.

Resident Natalie Calcutt said: “We are not against new developments but we ask that they build on more suitable areas and not areas of restraint and natural beauty.

“No-one from the council or the Coventry Diocese has been to visit this stunning area and nobody has listened to thousands of Southam people who wrote in, protested and signed to show they were against the plans.”

A ‘Save Our Southam’ protest was held at Tithe Lodge on Thursday to show residents’ solidarity against more homes being built in the town.

Barwood confirmed they were aware of local opinion but maintained they would be able to provide homes in the area while still protecting the site.

Rebecca Mitchell, from Barwood, added: “We know there is a local aspiration to open up this important area close to the River Stowe and Stowe Valley for public and community use.

“These proposals will not only provide new homes in a suitable location to meet a range of needs, but also help protect this particular area from future development.”

A public consultation has been launched by Barwood in a bid to further gauge public opinion.

Visit www.welshroadwest.co.uk/your-say.php to comment on the proposals by Monday.