I hope they sink (VI)

Today is the day when the planning committee will decide on the proposal to damage an important wildlife site on the edge of Ely (see previous blogs).  Very surprisingly, the Planning Officer has recommended that the plan should be approved despite the weight of local objection and informed nature conservation objection.

Maybe it’s because the Planning Officer has swallowed the impact assessment done by the developers. In which case, meet the otter, or at least one of them, that will be affected by building a boathouse complex within feet of where this video was filmed on 2 May at 01:02.

Click here for video of otter at CUBC spraint site

Rumour has it that there is a mutiny of academics in the offing.  We’ll see.

I’ve just received a letter from the Downing College Cambridge Alumni and Development department.  I will return their form, with no money, asking my College what they have done to prevent the University going ahead with this damaging development.

The student newspaper, known wittily as The Cambridge Student, has featured the case recently.  Note the  scale of the development.

Dick Pryce-Jones was at Peterhouse as an undergraduate and read Geography (’nuff said).  He has been the Executive Secretary of the Cambridge University Boat Club for the past 12 University Boat Races during which time the score is Oxford 8: Cambridge 4.


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14 Replies to “I hope they sink (VI)”

  1. Mark,
    Inter-college rivalry is one thing, but I very much hope you don't have an issue with Geographers....?


  2. Dud link to the otter video Mark. Does no open either directly or when copied into Safari.
    Pity someone couldn't find a holt to go with the spraint site!


  3. Cambridge rowing will be permanently tainted if this development goes ahead - the assumption that public opinion will be assuaged by forcing the proposal through planning is absolutely and fundamentally wrong.

    What I had not appreciated was the extent to which all parties were aware of exactly what they were doing when they started down this disastrous road: what on earth was the Environment Agency doing selling this site for development in the first place ? Does this not reinforce very strongly the perception that environment as in nature conservation is very much a bolt on extra for EA ? What would happen to nature conservation in this country if people who can do this got hold of Natural England.

    And talking of Natural England, and the directly comparable case of the Lodge Hill Nightingale site, NE deserve both congratulation and our maximum support for standing up to developers (and, one suspects, Government) by designating Lodge Hill as an SSSI. Reading the exchanges between the parties, it is disgraceful that Land Securities and Medway District Council are now trying to argue the toss over the finest of fine detail - whether the site actually holds more or less than 1% of England's Nightingales - regardless of any consideration that these birds are in sharp decline, potentially heading for extinction. Just like the Cambridge boat club site, it is glaringly and indisputably obvious that the sites are very important for wildlife and that attempting to develop them in the ways proposed is quite simply reckless, to both the environment and the institutions involved.

  4. I wonder what the point of SSSI's are wether it be the ignorance of the educated elite at Cambs Uni (a mutiny by the students? that isn't going to happen after all the money they spent to get there), the same boaters who last year were moaning on the local news because every time they rowed past a swan it would attack them...the swan and it's young were moved on in the end or the SSSI here in Northants that holds wildfowl shoots during the winter shooting amongst other things Golden Plover, there seems a total lack of "interest" by the law makers/law enforcement/general public, to prove a point if you ask "joe public" about global warming the response is either "it's not true" or "at least we'll have warmer summers" look at Roderick's point, do people care about Nightingales? Only if they can't by their excrement to smear into their faces....the world is money,money,money and sod you jack mentality

  5. I think the EA should be held to account regarding their role in this sorry affair. Have the EA issued any statements regarding this case?

    As tax-payers we should be entitled to answers to the following questions:

    1. Why did the EA decide to sell the site ?
    2. Did the EA consult their Fisheries & Biodiversity Team prior to the sale ? If so what was their view on the nature conservation importance of the site ?
    3. Did they inform those nature conservation organisations that may have been in a position to buy the site that the site was for sale ?
    4. Were the EA aware of Cambridge Universities intention to develop the site ?
    5. What has happened to the monies that the EA received for the sale ?
    6. Does the EA have any plans to sell any other land of nature conservation importance that they may own ?

    If the worst happens and the planners consent to the development, is there not a case for lobbying the EA to use the funds it received in the sale to help safeguard the future of other wildlife sites in the area ? It wouldn't compensate for the damage likely to be caused to the CUBC site, but it may mean they think twice before flogging any more wildlife sites to developers.

  6. Slightly OT, in the Guranadi, but a reminder of how we got where we are ... lest we forget


  7. Mark did you either see or read about this http://www.northantstelegraph.co.uk/news/solar-farm-planned-for-wellingborough-site-1-5058802 given the two stupids comments left already on their site I was wondering if you knew of someone more sensible and armed with better facts that might attend the meeting? I know you'll already be stateside.

  8. You are not alone - this from the Western Isles Council 2013 Strategic Plan (appendix 1)
    Strategic Objective 6.1.3 on page 10:
    "Actively resist any form of additional nature conservation designation." and
    "Liaise with Government and other interested parties to identify methodologies to reduce the present extent of nature conservation designation."
    followed by
    Strategic Objective 6.1.4 also on page 10:
    "Work towards a marketing strategy which promotes awareness of the Outer Hebrides in the commercial and tourist interest."

    That'll be tourists wanting not to see protected areas then.

    Everywhere, nature is up against it.

    1. That is indeed shocking. And bizarrely ignores the positive effects on the Western Isles' economy - as cited by the RSPB's research - from tourism attracted by the wildlife in the first place. How short-sighted we've become in this country.

      We're constantly fighting new developments here in West Sussex, and it's clear the planning tide has turned against us - thanks to recent planning process changes. I understand that housing is needed, especially low-cost housing for the less well-off locally, but these days low-cost housing is not a priority for government, councils or developers.

      One newly proposed housing development in our village I've just heard about tonight would destroy five nightingale territories if it goes ahead.

    2. Outrageous. What % of the islands' tourism revenue relies on individuals visiting these areas? Crass stupidity on purely economic grounds!


  9. No surprise regarding the planning officer. Most of them are as thick as two long rowing boats.


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