Friday, 3 April 2015

RIP OVERSTONE LEYS

How many people move from an urban area to a more rural location in the UK every year? How many times have you read from a variety of sources that farmers "are the custodians of rural Britain" or "we (farmers) do more for wildlife then wildlife charities"? Quite a lot of times I bet.
Well this morning as an urban dweller who has the privellige to have the countryside just two and a bit miles from my doorstep, I awoke to find the bizarre situation that the countryside will be moving a little further away. Thanks to local authorities granting permission for over 2000 homes covering what was 112.78 hectares of farmland into grey dreary drabness.
Here's a map of the areas circled rather shodily in yellow and white
Now the first area of development is in yellow and will be 200 homes. I know this field very, very well. I photograph here on a regular basis. The bottom section of the field that backs onto Southfields housing estate has a copse that runs along it's edge and a huge set aside and a brook that runs along and under Talavera Way into a lake on Thorplands housing estate. I have seen Kingfishers breed here and watched Kingfishers on the lake an urban Kingfisher!! If it wasn't for householders knocking them down every year Housemartins often nest under the huge eaves of the houses and feed off insects in the field earmarked for redevelopment, Swifts too. The set aside I mentioned used to be home to Barn Owl's too though to be fair I've not seen any here for three years. However I've seen Tawny and Little Owl's on many occasions. I've encountered Lesser Whitethroat and Common Whitethroat too. But more interestingly both fields have a healthy bat population. My friend Chris lives on Alder Close, Thorplands and has bats nesting in his attic. We're quite lucky (depending on your point of view) to have a council who to save money turned off the majority of street lighting and not buckle to public pressure and turn them back on. This has been to the benefit of the bats, though with the extra housing I wonder how they'll cope.
But more specific and probably the first notable change will be flooding. The run off from the industrial estate, the road (Talavera Way), generally the change in our climate and the topography of the land has already seen flooding. Ex photographer "Ben the Plumber" sister lives right near the Brook on Southfields and has been flooded during flash storms in the summer. The depth and size of the brook cannot handle sudden changes in water level, you can jump the Brook even ladden down with camera equipment so how will it cope with the extra water from the run off from all the extra concrete. Of course the developers have said they've considered this in their environmental report (which is a joke in itself, written/produced by a person wearing a blindfold?) and will be mitigating for it, yep I've heard that before Upton Mill residents have you suffered any adverse effects from heavy downpours, yes.
The biggest area in white is also of concern. In their environment report existing hedgerows will stay. Oh joy, but why? Yellowhammers feed off bread do they, no cereal crops not discarded cornflakes. What happens to the insects the Yellowhammers, Linnet's, Swallows, Housemartins, Swifts and bats that are parts of their diet do during development . Not to mention the mammals lost that the Kestrels eat. Or the several Skylarks I've photograph every year here,  oh well the hedgerow will do! Again according to environmental report the birds to be found here are common and widespread! Bollocks look at the short list again,  how many of those birds are in decline and not so "widespread". Won't be widespread if we keep eating into their territories. I haven't mentioned the Buzzards, Redkites nor the Hobbies either.
Both sites present another problem. Traffic. The A43 already at peak times can often go from 60-70 mph to 30mph-crawling speed how is the A43 going to cope with all the extra traffic which is already a "red route" because of the number fatal crashes, well only one real plausible way and that's making the A43 into a dual carriageway, even though this not been proposed yet, I bet you readers a fiver it will, which means eating into more of the country side. And what about all the extra traffic coming into town. The Kettering Road again often gets gridlocked.
I often get into heated debates with those who like to shoot pheasants and the like and often their ending argument to me is "you're a townie what do you know" well at this rate of development sadly you too will be townies.....RIP RURAL BRITAIN.

8 comments:

  1. There are so many other places they could build on that used to have other buildings there.

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    1. Sadly to true Findlay. It seems Northampton wishes to get rid of all the green spaces first.

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  2. A terrible future we are leaving future generations.

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    1. It is Keith at this rate of development we'll be neighbours. Interestingly what you blogged about on your Caldecote blog and the farmer removing trees etc is exactly how things happened here, try and have a look and see if there's a planning application in place

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  3. Scripted and delivered with passion Douglas ..... environmental reports are always inadequate and never take local knowledge into consideration !

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    1. Cheers John, it's truly frustrating I'm not sure how these 'environmental' inspectors if that's the right word go about their business. Plus if they do it in winter it's not accurate, they miss out on summer migrants, flowers, butterflies etc. In this area we've had a lot of schools close and only one site has been used for housing the others stand disused, makes no sense.

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  4. This is sad news. I only visit the area infrequently but am always upset by the population density. It is probably time you moved back to your native country. It's okay and would be better without the bloody wind farms.

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    1. I can handle dense population, I kind of like it really. But I like to escape from it from time to time. It's getting harder to do so. Funnily I've been considering using my dual nationality for a while. I'd love to go back and see loads of raptors flying relatively unpersecuted, bears and wolves. Maybe an option.

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