Sometimes it really takes a town to save one of its own. In this case, the recipient of the effort is the unspoiled beauty of Coate. The area is located deep in Wilshire England and nestles on North Wessex Downs. It surrounds a favourite spot among locals, the Coate Water Country Park.
In real estate, developers often take to running over fresh land because they are usually less expensive to clean up and develop and are more likely to return a bigger profit for their investment. Because of this, great stretches of land that are naturally beautiful and are steeped in heritage are being lost one by one.
This is what has happened to the land of Coate. A developer submitted plans to build up the area, which included building a university on site. This proposal did not agree with most of the locals since it would mean the destruction of a land that they value for its beauty and historical significance. This brought on such a huge outcry from the townspeople who started a movement, Save Coate, which resulted in the council’s rejection of the developer’s original plans. In an effort to regain what they’ve already lost for the initial plan, the builders’ are now thinking of ways on how to salvage the project involving Coate.
The latest proposal has been greatly reduced in size and the plan to build a university has been abandoned altogether. The developers have likewise committed to protect the park which is what the locals really want. Now, this all sound well on paper, but the locals are not taking any chances. Instead of letting go of the Save Coate efforts, they are still campaigning for active participation from the people. The reason? To prevent a precedent.
For city folks, development probably doesn’t sound as bad because it means more convenience to stores and enterprises that you need, more available housing options, and extension roads to public facilities such as hospitals, schools and the marketplace. But to the locals who have nurtured the placed and kept it a popular secret it means more:
• The removal of the country lane’s tranquility as more traffic and possibly more noise will come from widened roads that will cater to the need of a large employment space.
• The disappearance of a route that is much used by the townspeople for recreational activities such as jogging, horseback-riding, rambling plus the holding of the first rural leg of the annual half marathon.
• The impact on wildlife is significant such as the possible destruction of an otter stream and the blockage of badger routes in the vicinity.
• Any development in the area will diminish the natural beauty of the place since any building higher than two storeys will stand out unpleasantly.
• Main access roads, the Marlboro Road, for instance, already meet their capacity, any further traffic would make it unsafe.
•The area is Jefferies Land, closely associated with the works of Victorian author, Richard Jefferies. His birthplace and home are on the edge of the development site while his wife spent her childhood at Day House farm. The local landscape is heavily featured in most of Jefferies’ works and is of great literary, environmental and educational value.
These reasons may sound minor to those who have not grown up or lived in the area but it shows how much we can do to protect our immediate environment from being damaged unnecessarily. Progress is not a bad thing but to pursue it without considering all costs is downright irresponsible. There are other lands that can be developed to suit commercial purposes but it is admirable what the Save the Coate campaign has achieved in terms of preserving natural beauty and history.