Rare bird ‘threatened’ by Beckley housing proposal

An aerial view of the land earmarked for development. Photo by Stuart Conway
An aerial view of the land earmarked for development. Photo by Stuart Conway

Villagers are calling for a proposed housing development in Beckley to be refused to protect an endangered bird seen near the site.

Developers want to build 24 houses and six flats on Buddens Green in Beckley with an access road and parking.

A turtle dove spotted at Buddens Green. Photo by Allan Roffey

A turtle dove spotted at Buddens Green. Photo by Allan Roffey

But some residents fear for the rare turtle doves spotted in six different places around the site, which are on the RSPB’s conservation ‘red list’.

Stuart Conway is campaigning for people to oppose the application to save the birds which he

“We must do everything we can to save this precious and iconic bird,” he said.

“The proposal will definitely have a disruptive influence for sure.”

Domaines du Chateau ltd applied in December for permission to build the 30 homes off the B2088.

There will be an allocation of 40 per cent for affordable housing and the developers believe it will meet the village’s housing need.

Its biodiversity survey does not mention turtle doves under species spotted at the site.

But Mr Conway and other birdwatchers in the village have seen turtle doves in the tree lines around Buddens Green, including one pair seen frequently.

Beckley Parish Council unanimously voted against the development for a number of reasons including the fact that the planning inspector has previously said the site is unsuitable after previous applications.

There have been 75 comments so far with the majority in opposition.

The main concerns are the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), effect on the village’s character and wildlife as well as the density of the houses.

Mr Conway believes around 150 residents turned up to February’s parish council meeting to learn more about the plans and hear the councillors oppose it.

“There’s a lot of strength against it from the villagers and I think in some ways it feels like the village has spoken and had there say,” he said.

“I think people are just upset by the density and that it’s in an AONB.

“It’s been refused so many times before that it feels like someone’s trying to push agenda without considering the residents.”

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