Heritage threatened by over-development

THREATS of over-development and pressure on farming could sweep away East Anglia's cultural heritage, according to a leading countryside campaigner.Tom Oliver, head of rural policy at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said the huge number of new homes planned in the region over the next 15 years would “trash” thousands of acres of historic landscape.

THREATS of over-development and pressure on farming could sweep away East Anglia's cultural heritage, according to a leading countryside campaigner.

Tom Oliver, head of rural policy at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said the huge number of new homes planned in the region over the next 15 years would “trash” thousands of acres of historic landscape.

The draft plan of the East of England Regional Assembly identifies a need for 478,000 new homes before the year 2021.

Mr Oliver, who will today speak at a conference in Cambridge, said the rich layers of history in towns, villages and open countryside were at risk.

“Huge threats of over-development and renewed pressure on agriculture in many parts of the region could sweep away this inheritance and leave only sad remnants to tell of what the east of England had once been.

“The huge number of new houses demanded by the Government, the associated sprawling infrastructure of roads and distribution facilities, a greatly expanded Stansted Airport and attendant disruption and pollution would trash thousands of acres of historic landscape and ruin the enjoyment of many more,” he said.

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Places which had retained their character for generations would be “bludgeoned” into a nightmare of an urban fringe while major reductions in funding for environmental farming would put more development pressure on agricultural land.

“The present Government should be put under maximum pressure to rein in its forced march of development in the east and it should support careful management of the historic landscape through realistic levels of agri-environment funding for farmers in the future,” Mr Oliver added.

He is due to speak today at the East of England Historic Environment Forum in Cambridge.

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