Beavers to be introduced to North Queensway Innovation Park? On April 1st?

April 8, 2015 by combehavendefenders

beaver

Beaver, probably not at North Queensway. Image: Steve, wikimedia commons

We received the following press release on April 1.  Much as we’d love it to be true, we believe that given the date and the reference to beavers, it was an April Fool.  BBC South East Today, however, thought otherwise and ran it on their local TV news on April 5th.  No comment was available from SeaChange at the time of writing.

 

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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 1 2015

FAILED HASTINGS BUSINESS PARK TO BE ‘REWILDED’ BY REGENERATION COMPANY SEACHANGE SUSSEX

Director admits failure of vision, promises to restore site to better than original condition

SeaChange Sussex [1], the not-for-profit regeneration company for East Sussex, has today announced that it will be ‘rewilding’ [2] one of its business park sites in Hastings. Woodland on the proposed site for the North Queensway Innovation Park was cleared last spring, but SeaChange has been unable to find occupiers for the site.

Director of SeaChange Sussex, John Shaw, said, “In retrospect, we were wrong to believe that there were companies wanting to occupy premises at this site. The area was a very rich natural habitat, and we should have made sure we had firm commitments from companies before we cleared it. To compensate, we are today instituting a programme of ‘rewilding’. We will be planting hundreds of trees across the site, and locating and returning many of the protected species which we previously removed, including lizards and slow worms. We may also introduce new species such as beavers, and I hope that in time the site will be even better than it was before. We appreciate the importance of green spaces to people and to wildlife, and will not be proposing any more such speculative developments in the area.”

SeaChange was granted £7m of public money by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) to build the infrastructure for North Queensway, on the basis that the scheme would create 865 jobs [3]. When funding was announced, ex-leader of East Sussex County Council, Peter Jones, said,“This is really good news for Hastings and another boost for the plans to regenerate the area”.

The total cost of the scheme was estimated to be £32m; most of this was to come from ‘funds generated by receipts from sale of development land to owners/occupiers’ [4]. However, occupiers failed to come forward and the site has remained undeveloped.

Contact: seachangesussex@gmail.com

[1] http://www.seachangesussex.co.uk/

[2] Rewilding is the process of returning damaged habitats to their natural state. See http://www.monbiot.com/2013/05/27/a-manifesto-for-rewilding-the-world/

[3] http://www.southeastlep.com/news/press-releases/209-865-jobs-could-be-created-in-east-sussex-thanks-to-south-east-lep

[4] http://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/251C62A7-DB1D-4639-A381-956A58CA2FBF/30228/Item6GrowingPlacesFund.pdf

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