ANGRY Stratford-upon-Avon residents said they are shocked at the extensive digging that’s taken place on two fields earmarked for possible housing development.
Mechanical diggers spent most of last week creating numerous trenches two feet deep in fields at the top of Loxley Road in an area known as Arden Heath Farm which is the subject of a 250-homes proposal by Gallagher Estates and the Pegasus Group.
It’s believed residents overwhelmingly oppose the proposal which may be submitted to Stratford District Council as a formal planning application by the end of the year.
And in the absence of any current planning permission, residents are suspicious the intensive display of trench digging, which is clear for all to see, is in reality preparatory work on housing foundations, thus stoking fears of a “backdoor or stealth housing development.”
However, Stratford District Council has since offered an alternative explanation.
“The work being carried out is an authorised pre-application archaeological survey which is being monitored by Warwickshire County Council Archaeological Advice Team.
"The work is extensive and there will be a total of 75 x 20 metre trenches spread over both sides of the Loxley Road,” a council spokes-person said.
A statement confirmed by Warwickshire County Council who said: “We can clarify that it is the Warwickshire County Council Archaeological Information and Advice team who are monitoring the archaeological work as archaeological advisers to the Stratford District Coun-cil planning department.”
In recent weeks a team of surveyors has completed an archaeological and heritage assessment using scanning equipment as part of a series of technical studies commissioned by the potential developers.
Residents remain sceptical of the motives behind the sudden burst of trench digging activity and are concerned it has actually had a damaging effect on local wildlife which would appear to contradict the green credentials the developers have implied they have in their own publicity material.
They say they are conscious of the local ecology, and wish “to identify important wildlife and habitats within the site.”
But that statement doesn’t seem compatible with the eyewitness accounts of Loxley Road residents who allege kestrels, bats, rabbits and muntjacs have disappeared since the digging started.
The Herald has contacted a spokesperson acting on behalf of Gallagher Estates for comment on four separate occasions, but without reply.
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