September 21, 2015 by combehavendefenders
We came, we camped, we planted trees. This sums up the second Hollington Valley camp, over the weekend of September 18-20. Our aims were to encourage people into the valley, and to make it clear that we’re still here and we’re still opposing SeaChange’s destructive Queensway Gateway road plans. And of course, to hang out in a lovely place with friends old and new.
Rain gives way to sunshine
The frequent torrential rain of late didn’t bode well for the camp, and on Friday night – luckily just after we’d put up all our tents – there was another huge downpour. We managed to stay dry, and after that, we had the most fantastic weather all weekend, with cold dewy mornings quickly turning into all-day sunshine. In weather like that, what could be better than camping out in a lovely local green space?
Treeplanting and music
On Saturday, visitors arrived for tea, cake, music and treeplanting. There were a number of young campers and visitors, who had a fantastic time roaming around the valley, jumping streams, building dens and looking for bugs and were were particularly keen on planting the new trees (and eating the fantastic cake).
Birds and badgers and bats
Despite SeaChange’s best efforts, Hollington Valley is still lovely, and still an important place for wildlife. We saw many different birds, including buzzards, herons and ravens. The children found toads, lizards, frogs and all sorts of insects. We saw bats and heard badgers, with lots of evidence that it’s a place they use regularly, despite SeaChange’s ecology report which concluded that there were no badgers on the site.
SeaChange: confident of second rubberstamping
Although the planning permission was quashed in July, SeaChange has continued with preparatory work on the road. Contractors have dug out the roots of trees they’d previously felled, cut back stumps that were resprouting, and undertaken test drilling. They’re obviously very confident that when they resubmit the planning application, Hastings Council will rubberstamp it once again. How they’re going to get around the problem that the vehicles on the road would cause unlawful levels of air pollution – the reason that Hastings Council was forced to revoke the planning permission – remains to be seen.
Campaigners pledge to stop them
As we sat round the fire listening to owls hooting at the top of the valley, we agreed that we would do everything we could to save this place. Hollington Valley is wanted for a road and business park: the reality is, we need more green spaces, we don’t need more roads and we certainly don’t need more business parks. This is our green space, and we owe it to future generations to do everything we can to preserve it.