Who really saved Robsack Meadow from development, the Hastings Labour Party, or the local residents?

24/11/11- Campaigners for the protection of Robsack Wood Meadow, St Leonards. ENGSNL00120111124121810
24/11/11- Campaigners for the protection of Robsack Wood Meadow, St Leonards. ENGSNL00120111124121810

From: Patricia Stephenson, Whittlewood Close, St Leonards

With the possibility of a general election on the horizon I have to ask a question which has been raised previously but never satisfactorily answered by the leader of our council Peter Chowney.

In the Hastings Labour Party manifesto drawn up a couple of years ago, Cllr Peter Chowney listed among their achievements the saving of Robsack Meadow from development. This is a grossly distorted record of what actually happened.

Many local residents will recall the almighty battle we had to prevent any development proceeding on this special and unique habitat which sits directly between the two ancient woodlands of Churchwood and Robsack Local Nature Reserve. Our battle to save this site was regularly reported in this newspaper for which we remain very grateful. The coverage in our local paper brought the urgency of this matter to a wider audience than we ever hoped for.

We fought long and hard for nigh on seven years to save this little gem and thanks to the government appointed Local Plan Inspector Richard Hollox the council were told in no uncertain terms that to build anything on this site would destroy the habitat and that no measure of mitigation measures could be put in place to prevent this.

So this council had little option other than to agree to the Inspector’s recommendations and thus this little haven is now incorporated into the existing Local Nature Reserve.

For this council to claim that this is one of their ‘achievements’ is a gross insult to all those who campaigned so tirelessly to save this site and it is high time Councillor Peter Chowney owned up and admitted that it was local residents who are responsible for this. This council did everything in its powers to thwart our campaign.

So there you have it... Come on Councillor Chowney, own up and give credit where credit is due. All you did was to rubber stamp the Inspector’s decision.