Plan will have catastrophic effect on ecology of park
THE deadline to submit comment and/or opposition to the forthcoming developments in Higher Home Park closed yesterday.
On many occasions I have commented on your website pages regarding the total lack of influence the many users and lovers of Central Park have on any "planning" outcomes, now most believe it is a forgone conclusion that the development will go ahead irrespective of the opposition and irrespective of the catastrophic effect it will have on the ecology of the park.
History and basic observation of those interested has shown that the developments in the park have caused enormous declines in the viability of the area as an environment that is ecologically sustainable, indeed had it not been for the sterling work and dedication of the Ford Park Cemetery group and the Friends of Central Park the entire ecological environment for this area of the city would be damaged beyond repair.
Unfortunately despite the admirable efforts of these two groups this latest development will push the ecological viability of the area over the edge and we will only be able to look forward to even more developments and the area becoming an environmental desert.
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Mr Brent and our great city's council; irrespective of political allegiances over the years, have never demonstrated any tendency toward altruism.
Had they shown any concern for us or the environment they would have carried out a proper study of Central Park as both a habitat for wildlife in all its many guises and perhaps if they had understood humanity more and not simply pandered to sporting pressure groups, and all the other specialist interest groups that now have our council's ear, we may have seen a different outcome where the park was treated as an irreplaceable resource and not just an area of land to be used as a cash cow by people with a financial interest in its fast dwindling acres.
Central Park is home to protected species including newts and bats, yet according to the apology of an environmental survey that the council carried out as part of the planning grant process they found no evidence. As they carried out their survey on one bank running around the perimeter of the football ground which amounted to no more than dropping a dozen foot square sheets of tarpaulin on the ground for a week and checking what was under them once it can hardly be classified as exhaustive or even relevant!
It would seem that their knowledge of what is or not present in the area is based on false evidence, non existent understanding and probably total disinterest of the many species that are present in the park and exactly how interdependent they are.
The last round of building in the park saw the decimation of the rabbit population and a significant decline in the squirrel population. Although these are of course classified as pests they did make up a significant part of the food chain preyed on by the top predators such as the raptors (buzzards, sparrow hawks, kestrels, ravens, barn owls etc) all of which nest and or hunt in the parks acres. These predators now have to rely more on other rarities we have such as newts, frogs, slow worms and small birds or chicks to survive thereby placing pressure on a broader and more vulnerable food source. Had our leaders and the developers done their job properly rather than just pay lip service to it they should have taken measures to protect and preserve these examples of protected wildlife rather than leave them to the mercy greed and ignorance.
Unfortunately because our council and the developers have no understanding of the unique and priceless resource we as a city have in Central Park they are all happy to see it swallowed by ill-conceived developments that benefit the developers more than the city and its people. Perhaps when we next go the voting booths we consider the motives, credentials and past performance of our esteemed leaders and the select few growing wealthier on the misappropriation of our unique and fragile resources.