At the weekend I attended an impressive, resident-led protest against the Talbot Village Trust's plans to build a huge student/private accommodation development right on the edge of Talbot Heath.
On such a bitterly cold day, the strength of feeling against the development was inversely proportional to the weather.
The arguments against this development are compelling:
- It would directly endanger the heath - a site of special scientific interest and one of the last havens of a number of rare bird and reptile species, as well as a key local amenity.
- It would breach the 400m protection zone, opening the floodgates to further developments in the surrounding area.
- It would result in dumping more traffic onto the already choked Wallisdown Road as well as potentially overloading other local services.
- It would further reduce the remaining small slither of green land that still separates Poole and Bournemouth.
Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that Poole Council will turn down the application, despite the supporting presence of local councillors from all parties (and none).
As several speakers made clear, the proposal contains 'mitigation' including the return of some land currently used for grazing to the heath and a 'cat-proof fence' to supposedly stop the new development impacting on the heath (I am not sure if the developers have actually ever owned a cat...). But it is these issues that councillors on the planning committee will weigh up when making their decision, which must be based on the law not broader concerns about loss of green space or over-development.
If you are on Facebook, do join the 'preserve Talbot Heath' group. There is also an opportunity to lodge comments with the council before 3rd March. You can comment via the planning section of Poole Council's website by entering the Planning Application Number '00/08824/084/P', or by writing to the case officer and quoting the same number. Note that comments have to be on planning matters rather than wider opposition.