More than 200 people turned up to a protest fighting a 650-home development on the Lincolnshire border at the weekend.
The Protect Quarry Farm group held an event at Quarry Farm, between Casterton Road and Little Casterton, on Sunday after the plans were submitted to Rutland County Council.
Developer Allison Homes’ outline proposals form part of the Monarch Park estate which includes 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 around a link road from Old Great North Road to Little Casterton Road, will deteriorate the Quarry Farm open space.
Protest organiser Carys Vaughan said: “This site is so important to local people. We as kids have played here, it’s full of play and natural play and recreation, there’s dog walkers. So it’s a place that the community love.”
“What a lot of local people feel is that our voice hasn’t been heard. And when it has been heard, it’s just like they’re paying lip service to us.”
Neighbouring independent ward councillor Richard Cleaver also attended the event.
He said: “[Quarry Farm] is open. It’s unspoiled. If you go inside there it undulates, it’s not just a plain woodland, it’s very, very beautiful inside, because of the way the land goes up and down and there’s different species of trees. It looks unplanned and it has an additional beauty because of that.”
The protest even caught the attention of local inventor and YouTube sensation Colin Furze, who grew up nearby and learned all of his skills within the woods, building dens and tree houses.
“If you keep taking away these spaces, then nobody gets to do all the things that I used to do as a child and that is so important now because they might say there’s a park and stuff, but you can’t learn anything in a park.
“You need to mess around in woods building fires, just being a child, and if you keep taking these spaces away you lose all that.”
David Morris, land director at Allison Homes last week 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”.
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. Details of the Monarch Park plans are available here.
Footage from the protest was supplied by Cara Bostock (MA Broadcast Media student).