Warneford Meadow to become Town Green?
Published by webmaster for 24dash.com in Environment
Residents are applying to Oxfordshire County Council to have Warneford Meadow registered as a Town Green.
If the application is accepted, the Meadow will be protected against current plans to sell it off to developers to build student accommodation, housing or research facilities.
At County Hall today local resident and experienced environmental campaigner Paul deLuce handed in an application, backed by statements from [over 40] others in the neighbourhood who have used the Meadow for open-air recreation, many for over 20 years, some for as long as 70 years.
Warneford Meadow is 18 acres of open, untended grassland and orchard, behind the Warneford Hospital between Headington and East Oxford, rich in wildlife and well-loved by local residents.
The land was bought by the Hospital in 1918, using money from public subscriptions, to provide outdoor recreation for patients and protect it from housebuilding.
It is now threatened by plans for a 3-4 storey development for 1,950 students, or 300 houses, or research buildings of similar scale.
The NHS wants to raise money by selling the land, but there is no assurance that this would be spent on improving local health facilities. Many other bodies including English Nature and the Environment Agency have voiced concerns about the plans.
Town and village greens have existed since medieval times, and laws protecting them were passed in 1845 and updated in 1965 and 2006.
Handing in the application today, Paul deLuce said: “Warneford Meadow is a wonderful place. It has a tremendous variety of wildlife, and local people really value having somewhere on their doorsteps where they can pick blackberries, walk their dogs, and just be in touch with the natural world. The proposed development would totally wreck it. Registering the Meadow as a town green is only a first step. We want to see the Meadow enhanced, with more wildlife-friendly planting, to improve the whole wildlife corridor running through East Oxford, and to encourage more people to use this rare surviving piece of open land in a densely built-up area.”