Fears rewilding plans will lead to loss of open space and ‘stunning views’

PUBLISHED: 16:51 14 October 2020

A walk across the fields in the late evening as the sun sets. Looking towards Battery Point across Kilkenny fields.

A walk across the fields in the late evening as the sun sets. Looking towards Battery Point across Kilkenny fields.

(c) copyright newzulu.com

Residents have voiced concerns about council plans to plant thousands of trees at a popular beauty spot in Portishead.

The Windmill pub and restaurant alongside Kilkenny Fields, Portishead.The Windmill pub and restaurant alongside Kilkenny Fields, Portishead.

People fear planting 7,370 trees across Portishead Golf Course and Kilkenny Field will result in a loss of vast open space with ‘stunning views’ across the Channel and towards Wales.

Residents say the field near the Windmill Inn is ‘constantly’ used by dog walkers, children playing, runners, walkers and kite flyers, and those living nearby only became aware of the plans when a flyer was posted through their doors earlier this month.

The plans form part of North Somerset Council’s rewilding programme, launched in November 2019, which aims to create habitats across the district to help wildlife flourish and address climate change.

The authority seeks to convert around 16 per cent of 2.5 million square metres of council-owned verges, parks and open spaces where grass is mowed regularly to tall grass areas and a further 10 per cent to woodland. This will result in around 40 new hectares of tall grass and 20 of woodland created across the district.

An incoming tide early in the evening looking towards Battery Point and the Severn bridges from Kilkenny Fields, Portishead.An incoming tide early in the evening looking towards Battery Point and the Severn bridges from Kilkenny Fields, Portishead.

In response to the concerns, Portishead Town Council issued a statement made at its planning advisory group meeting held on October 7 to reassure people no 10ft trees will be planted to create a ‘dense forest’ in the area, and those being planted will allow for some die-back.

The statement said: “People will have seen this past week or so that this season’s rewilding planting was preceded by notices in specific areas, so residents who were not aware can come forward and make their feelings clear.

“However, some residents have assumed notices regarding Portishead Golf Course are also referring to Kilkenny Fields. This is not the case and planting planned for this season (January 2021) is for the golf course alone.

“Comments made in the initial consultation led the rewilding team to reassess Kilkenny Fields and, after further comments received recently, they are looking into what changes can be made to allow for trees, long grass and open spaces for everyone to enjoy.

“The map should have been changed to be seen by residents, which will be passed onto the team.

“This has probably caused some confusion.

“This land is for everyone, but, we need trees. We redress the biodiversity imbalance by increasing and improving our green spaces by planting trees.”


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