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Reporting Damage or Criminal Activity in the Copse

January 1, 2011 2010 Winter No Comments

Friends of the Copse can help to maintain the Copse by immediately reporting any damage or criminal activity to the appropriate local authority.

To report any damage to the Copse which needs attention, please contact Mick Gore at Chichester District Council. His telephone number is 01243 482 311.

To report any criminal or antisocial activity, please contact PCSO Lesley Bell, who is the member of the West Downs Neighbourhood Policing Team who is responsible for Summersdale and East Broyle. Her telephone number is 0845 60 70 999 extension 22108.

You may find it worthwhile to include these telephone numbers in your mobile phone directory.

Beyond NIMBYism

January 1, 2011 2010 Winter No Comments

In the last issue of the Newsletter, we indicated that the freedom offered to local councils by the Coalition Government provided Chichester District Council with a window of opportunity to establish a long-term strategy for future for the Copse. The Council has now established an annual limit of 430 housing units, that is 8,600 units over the period of the plan. The key issue for the Council’s planners, therefore, is now to decide precisely where those houses should be built.

A new input into the debate has come from the publication of the Lawton Review, Making Space for Nature, a year-long review which takes the planning debate beyond NIMBYism (see review here). There are two key proposals from the Lawton Committee which Chichester District Council will need to consider as it revises its Local Development Framework. These are to increase the size of current wildlife sites, and to establish wildlife corridors which provide connections between neighbouring wildlife sites. Both proposals could affect CDC’s long-term strategy for Brandy Hole Copse. In particular, they will probably affect the future both of the field to the south of the Copse, and the land to the west of Centurion Way.

A quick look at the map highlights the importance of the field to the south of the Copse in preserving the ecology of the Copse, and of the land to the west of Centurion Way in establishing corridors which will link the Copse with other nature reserves both to the north and to the south, and in preserving links with the wooded areas to the west and the north-west of the Copse, such as Kingley Vale. No lasting solution can be achieved without proper consultation with the landowners involved, but the strategic challenge for Chichester’s councillors is now clear. Despite a reduced budget, can they meet their housing needs, while still preserving sufficient space for nature?

Housing

August 3, 2008 2008 Summer No Comments

Vivian McPhee

The potential for housing development on the large field adjoining the copse is still of concern to us. Despite the loss of the field to cultivation- many of you will have seen the maize- we wish to continue pressure to ensure it remains available to support the copse in its entirety.

You will be aware that CDC have been obliged to reschedule the production of the Core strategy for their local development framework. Consultation will restart in November. The document which deals with large areas of land for housing development (delivering development opportunities) has also had to be rescheduled. However, it is important that we all make our views known about the damaging effect on the copse of housing in the fields next to it at every opportunity.

We will try to keep you informed, but if you are interested, you can visit the CDC web site and find out more through the LDF link on the Planning page of the web site.

Awards for the Copse

December 4, 2007 2007 Autumn No Comments

South East in Bloom Award 2007

Jo Brooks and Nigel Brown receiving award from Duncan Goodhew

From the Chairman, Graham Ault

We were delighted to hear this Summer that the Copse has been recognised and commended again in the South East in Bloom Competition this year. We were visited by two sets of judges back in July, one as part of the Chichester entry for towns and cities in the South East and one as part of a special ‘Country Parks’ category.

South East in Bloom Award

The Award

Chichester won a silver award based on a number of parks and open spaces around the City, and Brandy Hole Copse was a significant part of that award. In the Country Parks category we fought off a strong challenge from a nature reserve in the Ouse Valley, Newhaven, to win the silver award.

I can confirm that there is a plaque for each of these awards although the District Council will not trust us to keep the Country Parks plaque (probably very wise!). However we can borrow it for special occasions.

There are times when we wonder if it can be worth all the effort that goes into preparing for this competition, but we have had great support from the District Council, who put together an excellent briefing document for the judges and supervised the whole process. My thanks in particular to Jo Brooks, our Environmental Officer at the Council.

This is all good news as it has been such a disappointing year in the Copse with the poor summer weather, the invasion of the travellers and the ever present threat of housing development.

Although I sometimes get depressed about the activities of some youngsters who vandalise the Copse and show it no respect, I must mention one young lady, Rosie Collins, who has, for the second year running, chosen to do her Duke of Edinburgh Award project in the Reserve.

Having done a wonderful job last year in recording our mature trees, she has this year carried out an excellent survey of butterflies and their nectaring plants (with some excellent guidance from Mike Perry). Thanks Rosie. It makes it all worthwhile!

Housing

December 4, 2007 2007 Autumn No Comments

Work on noticeboards

It may feel as if the housing threat to the fields south of the Reserve has gone away. IT HASN’T. As you may know, the District Council’s Local Development Framework has been thrown out by a government inspector as it did not meet the statutory requirements, something which one of our members had pointed out in one of the consultation letters last Spring. One of the reasons for this was that the plan did not specify the sites for development.

This means only that there will be another LDF produced in the not too distant future which, hopefully, will meet the requirements and will therefore be more site specific. My discussions with the District Council to date indicate that the Western development will almost certainly remain a major option, including the fields south of the Reserve. This has some benefits to us in the context of trying to negotiate the use of the fields as an extension to the reserve as a part of the overall development.

This means that all our members and supporters need to remain very alert to developments and be ready to give further active support through any future consultation period. We remain concerned about the level of expertise in the District Council in the management of this issue. We will contact you again when we need your further contribution. We all need to be active in this campaign. The threat is still very real; it is only the time scale that has changed.

Volunteering – the essence of community

December 4, 2007 2007 Autumn No Comments

From the Chairman, Graham Ault

The most fundamental aspect of our group is that we have responsibility for a wonderful local amenity and there is, in my view, an onus on the local community to make sure it remains as such. We can, alternatively look to the District Council to do it all, as long as we are all willing to pay additional council taxes to fund it, but that seems to me to defeat the whole essence of a community. We have never so far measured the extent of public use of the Reserve (because we do not have enough volunteers to do it) but we believe it to be thousands of people who use it on a regular basis – which is great. Those people can come and enjoy the place, exercise their dogs, entertain their children, but they do not contribute anything to protecting, supporting and maintaining the reserve.

If only a small percentage of those people were willing to give up a small amount of their time to help in one way or another, we would be awash with volunteers!! In practice we have a very few active members, all of whom have busy lives including demanding jobs, family commitments, other public roles etc. What they have in common is a deep concern for the Reserve and the willingness to do something practical about it, so that the other 99.9% can enjoy it.

The loss of a few of those active volunteers could see the end of the group and a threat to the Copse. Is that what we want. Are we all happy to leave the work to a few people?

I know you have heard this from me before, but I make no apology for raising it again. There are very few of our members and visitors who could not do something to help, whatever their personal skills and abilities. We can find a role for anyone. Please see the list of possible volunteer activities in this newsletter and think very seriously about giving just a very little of your time so we can all continue to enjoy our Nature Reserve.

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