Breaking News: No Sanctuary for urban wildlife

The Sanctuary LNR Before and After 2003 - 2014(1)This evening,  the Planning Committee of Derby City Council voted 6:5 in favour of the planning application that is a ‘vile act of wanton vandalism’ despite 1009 responses of opposition and 642 in favour.

See previous blogs here, here, here and here.

I’d be interested to know the political allegiances of those voting each way.




24 Replies to “Breaking News: No Sanctuary for urban wildlife”

  1. Such sad news. What a shame the council didn’t listen to the local community they are supposed to be representing.

  2. No! That is outrageous and now sets a very scary precedent for similar such places. I’m appalled. What is happening to our environment? Every which way we turn something else is undone and eroded away. It’s like trying to manage wildfires.

  3. I wasn’t able to attend the meeting but my husband did.He came home very angry! Even one of the councillors said if this was a private application it wouldn’t have got to this stage!! Its a disgrace.

  4. I am worried that cycling which should be such an environmentally friendly pursuit is currently being seen as “a good thing” regardless of its impact on the immediate environment.

  5. “I’d be interested to know the political allegiances of those voting each way.”

    It would be more telling to know where the pros and antis lived. Perhaps the LA discounted outsiders and listened to the locals.

  6. Not a the moment Mark, husband has gone to vent his anger on a tennis ball! (Apologies if I’ve sent this twice)

  7. Sad for all wildlife lovers but just really a reminder of general public’s views expressed by their representative’s.I did read of a conservationist making out I think that about 10 million people belong wildlife groups,I think that is a serious exageration,do not think in general consider N T a wildlife group.
    We need to take on board that the general public do not share our enthusiasm for wildlife,there might even be more bikers than wildlife lovers.

  8. I recently contacted my recently elected Labour County councillor about a wildlife issue that concerned me (I was bothered that the upgrade of a local canal towpath in to a cycle route might result in damage to the reed fringe vegetation and canal ecosystem). After a week, no reply from the councillor. I emailed again and he said he hadn’t yet found out what I wanted and said he would chase it up. I waited several days once again. And received no reply once again. By this time I had found out what I wanted to know for myself. Eventually I emailed him to tell him how disappointed I was that he had not helped with my request, especially as I had voted for him, and because I had hoped that he might be interested in an environmental issue in his ward. I pointed out to him that the least advantaged people in our society usually live in the least green places (and the most polluted), and the poorest people will undoubtedly benefit from increased having access to good quality semi-natural areas. His reply indicated he just doesn’t “get it” where nature is concerned, even though I had tried to explain. I’m going to have to find out how I rate our local Labour Prospective Parliamentary candidate on wildlife issues before I decide whether to vote for her in the general election.

  9. Another example of commerce deciding policy over the public. Politicians have no say in how the country is run.

  10. Saddened, Bloody angry but hardly surprised, local politicians are often at the forefront of wanton environmental vandalism and it seems Derby is no different. This does indeed set a very dangerous precedent.

  11. A very poor decision which could have far reaching consequences. Can it be overturned? If there’s a fighting fund for appeals etc. I’d happily support it.

  12. I’m simplifying a little, but planning decisions must be made according to law and the council’s agreed policies – not based on party politics. If there’s a case (and the financial support) then a judicial review would be way to “appeal” the decision. I’m obviously politically neutral as I work in local govt so not advocating, just commenting. It would only really have a chance of success though if it can be shown that the decision-making process was flawed or incorrectly applied.

    1. Jason – thank you and welcome! The fact that, as I understand it, the vote was six to five suggests that it wasn’t clear cut. It appears that this decision was made contrary to the council’s policies too. I’m no lawyer, but I have some experience of judicial review, and it is rarely very useful if a wrong decision has been made providing that the correct process has been followed. There may be scope in this case though and I dare say that others are looking carefully at that option. I’d still like to know how the 6:5 breakdown is reflected in party allegiances.

      1. Mark,

        Yes, looking at Derby City Council’s Proposals Map (see here: indicates that the land is designated for nature conservation under their Local Development Plan Policy E4 (Nature Conservation) – text here:

        However, the wording of the Policy leaves it quite open to interpretation. The policy states:

        “Development will not be permitted which does not take PROPER ACCOUNT of the need to protect from adverse impact Wildlife Sites, including Local Nature Reserves and sites identified in Appendix B taking into account their relative significance.” [Capitlal letters my emphasis].

        Whilst compensation land at Alvaston Scrubs has been offered, it has been argued by some stakeholders that this is not suitable for certain species (e.g.skylark). If so (and I don’t know the details), then arguably, (in my opinion), the Council may not have taken PROPER ACCOUNT in considering the adverse impacts. This MAY MEAN that the decision has departed from the Council’s policy and development plan. If, so, this may offer up a reason for Judicial Review. This doesn’t mean that the development won’t ultimately go ahead, but as I understand the process (and I am happy to be corrected), if, by granting pernmission, this would depart from the Plan, then the Council’s options are to (a) refuse or (b) say that it is minded to grant permission but request that it is ‘called-in’ by the Secretary of State (Eric Pickles in this instance). The SoS can send it back to the Council for determination; or decide themself; or it could go to Public Inquiry (I think these are the three options). I did wonder if this would be the decision of the planning meeting last night though the offer of compensation habitat may have been sufficient to persuade the Council that this was not necessary.

        I think JR would be worth investigating as:

        the vote was close;
        the site has legal protection (though weak) as it is an LNR;
        the decision MAY HAVE departed from the plan; and
        there COULD BE implications nationally.

        But in reality, this may be a technical argument that would be expensive and not actually result in a differemt decision. Nevertheless, I wonder if this is the end of the process?

  13. Sorry for delay in reporting the details of the vote – things weren’t 100% clear last night. However here’s the full break down:
    FOR the application: 5 Lab and 1 Lib Dem = 6
    Against: 4 Con and 1 Lib Dem. = 5
    Application approved by ONE vote.
    One Lab was abroad and the Chair (also) Lab didn’t need to vote (she would have had it been a tie).
    So IF both Lib Dems had voted against we would have won – it was THAT CLOSE!
    A webcast of the meeting will be available eventually but probably not immediately.
    Ps It seems the Lib Dem who voted FOR is a DWT member…..
    Pps. Before the meeting we felt the Labour cllrs would close ranks and push it through with no problem – but with one Lab cllr. being abroad….the balance was shifted. It could have been so different – and should have been.

  14. The planners and supporters of the scheme may have reasoned that the site was ‘only’ a site of local importance but we are in serious jeopardy of finding ourselves in a wildlife desert with beleaguered islands of nature in a few hot spots if we continually allow the lesser sites to be swallowed up by development (or to have their wildlife squeezed out by unsympathetic management). Every roadside verge, boggy field corner and pocket of woodland is actually important and we need to fight to protect them all.

  15. Re., Filbert Cobb’s comment. There were some out of area support for and against, percentage wise I think if anyone wants to look the percentage of local people against were far higher than those for.

    One who supported was from Hampshire and isn’t even a cyclist, he is an avid cycle sport fan.

    More to the point, no one is against the track, the ridiculous planned siting is the issue, the supporters seem to have the attitude – it goes there or we take our bikes home! Another important point is that a healthy environment benefits all, not just a few. As many of the birds are migratory when vulnerable species decline
    people elsewhere also lose them. The track maybe a local issue, but it has national and international impacts.

    The supporters also keep saying it will be regionally important, that there is nothing like it in the East Midlands, but one is already to be built in Nottingham, which incidentally already has one at Holme Pierrepont – I found this out via the Cycle News website.

    There have been many dubious claims and omissions by ALL of those in support.

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