Save Symondshyde campaign gathers support at meeting in Wheathampstead
PUBLISHED: 10:43 29 June 2017 | UPDATED: 10:43 29 June 2017
A campaign group rallied support at a public meeting to protect threatened Green Belt land between St Albans, Hatfield and Wheathampstead.
The Save Symondshyde group was formed in response to the Welwyn Hatfield Local Plan, which proposes building 1,130 houses, a primary school and a shop close to Symondshyde Great Wood.
More than 100 people attended a meeting at Wheathampstead Memorial Hall on Wednesday, June 28, and the committee urged residents to help them raise money and fight the development.
The campaigners need to raise at least £4,000 to employ a consultant, who they will need to represent them now the Local Plan has been handed over to a planning inspector.
John Gardner, chair of Save Symondshyde, said: “The only way that we are going to get the plans removed is by making sure that the inspector actually listens to the point that we have raised and makes a strong recommendation to the council.”
The committee showed residents two of their ‘Save Symondshyde’ campaign videos, which have played at the Odyssey Cinema in St Albans.
John said: “The picture I have of this area is of some wonderful open green spaces, and the great worry that I have is that my grandchildren will just see a completely filled in area.”
A member of the Herts and Middlesex Badger Group also pointed out that the land earmarked for development is a foraging ground for badgers.
The developers, Gascoyne Cecil Estates, identified an area of land for the scheme which will be twice the size of Sandridge.
Peter Waine, former national chairman of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) said: “We still have a countryside that is the envy of the world.
“Career politicians should be aware of that. We might live in towns but we have a particular affection for the countryside.
“We need to fight. The odds look considerable - I do not believe they are as considerable as you think they are.”
Collection buckets were available at the meeting for residents to donate, and donations can also be made at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/symondshyde