Stamford residents fighting to save a wildlife haven crossing the Lincolnshire border will be gathering to show their strength of feeling this weekend.
The Protect Quarry Farm group is calling for supporters to turn up at Quarry Farm, between Casterton Road and Little Casterton, on Sunday at 11am after a planning application for 650 homes and a country park were submitted to Rutland County Council.
Developer Allison Homes’ outline proposals form part of the Monarch Park estate which itself forms a section of the wider 1,300-home Stamford North development.
The plans include a series of one to five-bedroom properties, a 35-hectare country park, and a local community building which could include retail, cafe, sport, medical or office use.
However, objectors say the build which will centre many of the houses around a link road from Old Great North Road to Little Casterton Road, will deteriorate the “invaluable” open space at Quarry Farm and that it is “irreplaceable”.
They say the space is vital for mental health and wellbeing and that the build will have a detrimental impact on the abundance of flora and fauna on the site.
Campaign co-ordinator Carys Vaughan said: “This is the first of a series of actions we are taking to protect this very special green space.
“We are expecting that more than 100 people will come along on Sunday to demonstrate their support”
Neighbouring Independent ward councillor Richard Cleaver is backing the protesters.
He said: “It’s an inappropriate site because it is building right up to the edge of a very sensitive wildlife area. It needs to be avoided altogether basically and should not be built on.
“People use it as a public and community centre and a very attractive one at that – it means a lot to people.
“They don’t want to see it lost or deteriorate because they are particularly close to it.
David Morris, land director at Allison Homes said the developer had “taken great care” to balance much-needed new homes with long-term net gain for biodiversity which would “benefit local wildlife through protected areas and dedicated management plans”.
He said extensive discussions had taken place around mitigation measures, adding “the reestablishment of formal wildlife areas on site is a principle of the development”.
Measures would include culverts or tunnels for wildlife crossings, tree planting, open space and fenced off areas specifically set aside for habitat creation.
Dedicated pedestrian crossings and paths will maintain and enhance access to the area, improving opportunities for those with mobility restrictions.
“As the development takes shape, we are looking forward to working alongside the local community and statutory consultees to ensure that the country park meets the needs of both local people and the area’s wildlife,” he said.
“Biodiversity net gain is an important issue for Allison Homes, and we pride ourselves with the work recently undertaken at our Wittering development, near Stamford, with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society to provide hedgehog highways through the development.”
The Stamford North development as a whole will create a new main road to Ryhall Road and will be built in around five phases.
It also includes plans for a new primary school.
To attend the protest on Sunday email [email protected]
Details of the Monarch Park plans are available here.