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[09 FEB 98] ENVIRONMENT NEWS
Green Challenge To Houldsworth Tip Plans

The Warwickshire Wildlife Trust is battling to save a "vital green lung" from the threat of development.

Prologis Kingspark Developments is applying for outline planning permission to build on land at the former Houldsworth Tip near the Coventry Colliery and their bid goes before the Planning Policy Team of Coventry City Council on Thursday.

But the Wildlife Trust is arguing that the land is a valuable nature area and also a local amenity that should be protected.

Conservation Manager Andrew Thompson said:

"It is officially a site of importance for nature conservation, a status agreed by us, the City Council and English Nature.

"The site has a very rich diversity of plant species – it is one of the most species-rich areas in the city.

"All in all there are 149 species of plant including some quite rare examples. The Bee Orchid, for instance, can be found there.

"It is a former tip site and therefore is not that fertile, which encourages more species. If land if very fertile then the coarse grasses tend to dominate but here there are a whole range of plants and different soils which also encourages the diversity.

"Our other main point is that the site is very close to large areas of housing and that coupled with the planned development of the colliery, make it a very valuable site for local people.

"It is a vital green lung and a great many people walk the tip. That is a vital consideration."

But the Trust are not confident of victory. Thompson added:

"We are fighting a rearguard action. The site was allocated for housing in the Unitary Development Plan but in the Coventry Development Plan draft it is only partly allocated. We welcome that reduction but at the same time it is acknowledged in the plan that more land than necessary has been allocated to meet the housing needs, so we are saying why develop an area of so much importance?"

No-one at the Birmingham developers was available for comment.
   

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CWN / Environment / 9 Feb 98

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