Not too late to prevent further destruction
PUBLISHED: 16:11 07 June 2007 | UPDATED: 12:32 04 May 2010
RESPONDING to Mr Holden s letter in last week s Ely Standard: I have lived in Ely, with Roswell Pits and Ely Common on my doorstep, for just over 20 years and I am very angry and upset by the destruction that has taken place in the area. By felling mature
RESPONDING to Mr Holden's letter in last week's Ely Standard: I have lived in Ely, with Roswell Pits and Ely Common on my doorstep, for just over 20 years and I am very angry and upset by the destruction that has taken place in the area.
By felling mature trees when birds are nesting, by digging huge trenches and cutting swathes through the undergrowth Mr Holden suggests that the new owner, Mr Tyrrell, "will make it most interesting for people to walk around". I do wonder if Mr Holden has visited the area in the last few weeks? Also, if he thinks that the beautiful kingfishers, the crested grebes who now have young, the marsh harriers, the bitterns, the otters and the deer - all special to the area, come "because where there are people there is food" he is very naive. These birds and animals come to the Pits because it is such a peaceful area, seemingly unpolluted and perfect habitat for their needs and protection. This is countryside at its best - maybe the wildlife has returned to the A10 bypass but who has the courage to walk along this busy road to see?
As correspondents in previous weeks have written, the people of Ely - the taxpayers - have been badly let down by planners and various wildlife agencies who should have stepped in and taken action at an earlier stage. Hopefully the public meeting on June 12 should reveal the true feelings of Ely citizens.
IN reference to the Roswell Pits development, you gave prominence in last week's paper to someone who appears to think that the Ely bypass is a wildlife haven, full of bitterns, kingfishers and otters. May I suggest that this is utter nonsense. It is, of course, useless to expect developers not to tear such a place to pieces in pursuit of profit. It is what they do, and it is the reason we pay the salaries of planning officers to protect us from their unrestrained activities.
As things now stand, the council has reluctantly agreed that "some of the work done needs planning permission". (ie: it should have been done in the first place). Astonishingly, they also claim that the fact the owner has now been obliged to stop is "to his credit!" No, it is not. It is to the credit of an initial few people (and now to growing numbers of Ely citizens) who demanded that council planning officers do what they are paid for.
Given that all this was utterly predictable, I would like to ask the trustees of the Parsons Charity whether they are thoroughly embarrassed and ashamed at the result of their hurried and secretive sale of Roswell Pits and the resulting damage and destruction. Why was this vitally important site not first offered to the people of Ely who have been using it for years and continue to do so in great numbers? Or if it was, why were we not told and given the opportunity to raise the funds to save it?
Despite the damage done it is not too late to prevent further destruction of this vital wildlife area, but it does seem likely that the people of Ely will have to be vigilant and take the lead in assuring that those who might be expected to protect this beautiful and unspoiled place for the many people who enjoy it, and for the wildlife which lives there, actually do their jobs.
WHILE I am respectful of the points of view of others regarding the development of Roswell Pits, I wonder how informed Mr Holden is of the actual facts regarding the work done so far.
The owner has taken his digger through land, fences have been taken down, and concrete pipes and a large trailer litter an area of the nature trail. They have been there so long that vegetation is starting to grow round them!
Spoils of clay from work done to date spill over onto a verge, again not on the property, covering precious flora - and looking unsightly.
A planning contravention notice has been placed by ECDC for trenching and track work done without planning permission.
A Tree Preservation Order is in place to stop further 'maintenance work' being done without planning permission.
Trees have also been cut down during the bird nesting season.
These are just a few of the facts, evident to anyone who cares to walk past the site.
So please, Mr Holden, forgive me if I am a little dubious of promises made for future development of the site.
Yes, Ely is expanding, and that is precisely why we need this unique area, accessible to the public, but relatively undisturbed, so that wildlife can thrive and the peace and solitude can be enjoyed by all. A delicate balance between a working environment and the wildlife exists at present. Any further development will destroy this.
If you want to find out more about the current situation, come to the public meeting on June 12 at Ely Community College, (7-9pm), where those who have managed to 'unstick' themselves from the mud have tried to find out what is going on, and judge public opinion for yourself.