National Trust lose the battle for Wicken Vision

PUBLISHED: 15:17 26 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:20 04 May 2010

THE team of people promoting the National Trust s so-called Wicken Vision has now concluded the series of six so-called consultation meetings - at Swaffham Prior, Wicken, Fen Ditton, Waterbeach, Lode and Burwell. These meetings were not consultation

THE team of people promoting the National Trust's so-called 'Wicken Vision' has now concluded the series of six so-called 'consultation' meetings - at Swaffham Prior, Wicken, Fen Ditton, Waterbeach, Lode and Burwell.

These meetings were not 'consultation': they were arrogant attempts at indoctrination and, in that respect, they were a shambles and an abysmal failure. What was being promoted was a blinkered vision - seeing only what they wanted to see - and the team needs to report to its bosses that most of the 'consultees' were deeply critical of this crazy scheme that means the Trust taking over 15,000 acres of fine food-producing land and flooding it.

At a time when the world's growing population is increasingly starving and our own millers are paying £200 a tonne for milling wheat, to spend £100 millions (my estimate) on the scheme is not only a massive misuse of public and lottery money, it is also a criminal waste of a diminishing resource - our land. And the Trust's people clearly take no notice of the concerns of those folk most affected - the residents of Fen Ditton, Horningsea, Clayhithe, Quy, Lode, Longmeadow, Swaffham Bulbeck, Swaffham Prior, Reach, Upware, Burwell and Wicken.

Fortunately, many at the meetings criticised or questioned the scheme and, having attended five out of six (I missed Waterbeach due to Swaffham Prior Parish Council commitments), the most prominent memories I have are of the lame excuses consistently given for the Trust's non-distribution of their specially-printed brochures - 20,000 of them; the heroic heckling from Barry Garwood, a rights-of-way enthusiast, of Burwell; the uproar at Wicken due to the Trust refusing to permit a vote on a properly proposed and seconded motion; the superb speech from George Dean, a scion of an old and respected Longmeadow farming family, at Lode; and the devastating question at Swaffham Prior from John Harrison, an eminent accountant, who wanted to know what consultation had taken place before the key decisions to proceed were taken by the Trust's 'high-ups' in 1999: the answer that came was 'not much'. My personal best moment was when one of the more supercilious of the Trust's men remarked at Fen Ditton that he held no hope of changing my opinion. For once, I had the presence of mind to respond that whilst my opinion was my own, he was being paid to hold his!

You've been defeated, National Trust: accept it gracefully!

GEOFFREY WOOLARD

Chapel Farm

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