Southam campaigners seek country park status to save green fields

Campaigners fighting housing on open country hope to have the area declared a country park in a bid to see off a “conveyor belt of speculative building applications”.

They are fighting moves to build 77 homes on fields near Southam’s Grade II-listed Holy Well - weeks after they celebrated victory against a similar housing scheme on land adjacent to the well.

Mike Brooks, of the Save Holywell Fields campaign, said: “It’s like a conveyor belt. We get rid of one - then another one turns up.”

The Holy Well and surrounding fields are in the Stowe Valley and designated by Stratford District Council as an Area of Restraint, where there is a presumption against development.

“The latest homes application is fourth for the Stowe Valley in the last nine years,” said Mr Brooks.

“The country park solution for the Stowe Valley, as far as speculative building applications goes, will stop that.

“If we get that it will give the Stowe Valley a more robust defence.”

This week campaigners handed in a petition to the council with nearly 1,620 names objecting to the plan by Banner Homes to build on land is owned by the Coventry Diocese.

Campaigners said they also expected hundreds to sign the online petition on the council website.

Cllr Chris Saint, the leader of Stratford District Council, has backed the residents, and said; “It is the policy to protect important green spaces such as Southam’s Stowe Valley where so many people value its unspoilt natural beauty.”

Mr Brooks said the Campaign to Protect Rural England had backed its fight and residents hoped the organisation would help negotiations with Warwickshire County Council to get the Stowe Valley declared a country park.