The Thin End of the Wedge
The Saving Swainsthorpe campaign taken in isolation may not be considered important to many people.
It is a small Norfolk village fighting a big determined developer and it is a story seen over and over again throughout East Anglia and the country as a whole.
This is however different, this application is the setting of a new precedent
In this case the developer has deliberately purchased a farm with the full intention of developing it for other uses. In this case industrial engineering, housing and retail.
This quite literally is the’ thin end of a wedge’ which if successful will be a precedent and will open the flood gates throughout the rural landscape for the loss of farms and farming land. The country cannot afford to lose productive land, it cannot afford to lose habitat, it cannot afford to lose the eco-systems that create the balance that keeps our environment healthy and the wellbeing of those that inhabit it.
We are quick to criticise other areas of the world for not looking after their rural landscape, whilst failing to protect our own.
The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) has been a tremendous and valued defender of the countryside. They have written an extensive report in support of Swainsthorpe and against its Industrialisation.
Swainsthorpe may appear a small issue to the Politicians, but we are fighting for something far bigger. We are fighting for the future of the towns and villages and the wellbeing of all.
Most of all we are fighting for the Town and Country Planners to be given teeth so that they can fight on behalf of villagers and rural communities to resist commercial pressure from developers with big pockets and the politicians trying to balance short term accounts.
In the words of Mr Andrew Proctor the Leader of Norfolk Council, ‘we live in a world class environment’. Our Country and County is rich in God given assets and we rely upon our planners and politicians to protect the wellbeing and environment now and for future generations.
Let us be clear the Ben Burgess factory is for today’s technology, who knows where we will be when the diesels tractors have gone and the petrol machinery does no longer need maintenance in 20 years. One thing we do know is that if this factory is built the Swainsthorpe Fields that have been producing for 1000 years will be destroyed forever.
Small campaigns have a habit of growing into something far bigger and more important in the countryside. And whilst our Campaign team does not wish to emulate the fate of Robert Kett or Watt Tyler we would like to hope that Saving Swainsthorpe will become the axiom upon which rural communities may challenge the right of developers to destroy our rural environment.