Appeal to save ‘wildlife haven’ from builders in Portishead

PUBLISHED: 12:00 19 March 2020

Jonathan Mock from Wild Portishead at Slade Road field which is under threat of development.    Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Jonathan Mock from Wild Portishead at Slade Road field which is under threat of development. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

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A Portishead group is campaigning to save a field which is home to ‘precious wildlife’ from development.

Jonathan Mock from Wild Portishead at Slade Road field which is under threat of development,     Picture: MARK ATHERTONJonathan Mock from Wild Portishead at Slade Road field which is under threat of development, Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Wild Portishead wants to preserve Slade Road field with ideas to turn it into a community orchard in town.

Group lead Jonathan Mock is encouraging people to send in photos of wildlife at the field to appeal to North Somerset Council to take it off its development list, which it says is ‘actively seeking to destroy’ a ‘ready-made wildlife haven’.

Jonathan said: “In February 2020, Wild Portishead met with officers at North Somerset Council to discuss matters arising from its rewilding scheme.

“Slade Road field perfectly ticks all the boxes as far as the council’s rewilding ambitions are concerned – but it’s also on its development list to be built on, and the council is refusing to remove it.”

Jonathan Mock and David Newton examining remains of birds nests in the devastated meadow.Jonathan Mock and David Newton examining remains of birds nests in the devastated meadow.

North Somerset Council contractor Glendale spent two days levelling Slade Road during nesting season in 2018, which Jonathan and David Newton hit-out against at the time.

The pair were hoping to apply for protection for the site as it is home to a wide variety of wildlife including robins, blackbirds and wild flowers.

Jonathan continued: “The field is a wildlife haven at the end of Downside in Portishead, near a very narrow cul-de-sac.

“Not only is it the most inappropriate place to try and cram in more homes at a time when Portishead is suffering from over-development, but it would also raise questions about the council’s rewilding scheme, when it is actively seeking to destroy a ready-made rewilded area.

Wildlife spotted in Portishead on Monday.   Picture: Jonathan MockWildlife spotted in Portishead on Monday. Picture: Jonathan Mock

“Wild Portishead is, therefore, asking for this field to be taken off the development list and saved. The site has great potential for a community orchard on the lower edge thus increasing its value as a wildlife haven.

“It’s also a quiet, peaceful spot that is as good for human wellbeing as it is for nature.”

Wild Portishead is now appealing for people to record wildlife they see in the field and adjoining area, to build a clearer picture of animals which have made Slade Road field their home.

A spokesman from North Somerset Council said: “The site is identified in the current Local Plan for development.

“All allocations will be reviewed during the development of the new Local Plan.”

Pictures taken at the field can be sent to Wild Portishead’s Facebook and Twitter pages.


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