Spinning facts to suit the purpose

THE first class coverage by Sol Bukner on the report The State of Nature and the decline of wildlife across the Sussex county needs to be taken seriously reflected on by Hastings Borough Council regarding its fixation to develop the nature reserve known as Robsack Meadow.

Here we have a small idyllic piece of land home to a large diversity of flora and fauna that is almost surrounded by ancient woodland. About 15 years ago the council’s own ecology Officer, Murray Davidson wrote in a report on this site how significant this was regarding wildlife and plants and how it should never be developed.

Here we are now with two latest external ecology reports stating how all the wildlife can be removed to allow development on this land. So who is right and who is wrong in this scenario?

On the one hand we have a report backed by 25 leading conservation groups raising concern about this situation and on the other side we have a council who have hired ecologists who justify the eradication of animals, reptiles, insects and flora to build two apartment blocks.

Respect and conserving the wildlife around the borough does seem to have a patchy history. Residents in Hawthorn Road speak of badgers tearing up gardens due to a recent development and no ‘wildlife corridor’ for them.

The future development of Osbourne House (The Ridge) has a large badger colony and its future for them is not clear. Another wooded site on Gillsmans Hill according to an external ecology report has little or no wildlife which is inconsistent with those who live next to it.

The development of industrial units adjacent to Marline Woods (Queensway) an SSSI site was heavily opposed to by Sussex Wildlife Trust. This was ignored by the planners and the planning committee, probably so as the land was sold by the council to the quango Seaspace.

What is it going to take to get this council alone to realise sites like Robsack Meadow are important to natures life cycle and to the people as well.