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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?

Brandy Hole Copse launches new Tree Trail

Tom Broughton

The trees of Brandy Hole Copse, Chichester’s only local nature reserve, are the focus of a newly created trail around the copse. Friends of Brandy Hole Copse (FBHC) have designed a leaflet, freely available to download from the website, Brandy Hole Copse Tree Trail, to highlight 12 species of the many and varied trees that exist on this popular nature reserve.

Studying Tree Trail

Lauren Lelliot (7), Jenny Broughton (10) and Clare Fraser (11) studying leaflet on the Tree Trail.

Trail designer and FBHC volunteer, Judi Darley, said: “We have chosen 12 trees in the copse to highlight their natural features and mythical stories.”

For example, did you know: “Folklore tells of the importance of beech trees in helping to grant wishes. A wish made with a twig of beech was pushed into the earth under the tree. From there it was collected by the Wishing Fairies and carried deep into the under-wood for the Fairy Queen’s consideration.”

Volunteer website manager and leaflet editor, Tom Broughton, said: “The leaflet includes a map of where to find the trees. Each tree in the trail has a tree-shaped badge on it. If you know where the trees are, then you can easily walk around them in 20 minutes, but they are not all obvious! However, a more relaxed stroll around the 15 acre copse would allow you to enjoy the many other points of interest in the copse, including three ponds, pre-Roman dyke and World War 2 defences. This is an ideal activity for children over the summer holidays.”

The colourful and informative leaflet gives details of how to get to the copse, including bus stops and proximity to the Centurion Way cycle path. Brandy Hole Copse is only 1¼ miles from Chichester Cross.

Clare Fraser said of the Tree Trail “It was real cool, cos you got to learn a lot and it was really fun”.

To launch the leaflet a Family Event was held in the copse as part of the Festivities on Sunday 6th July. All participants received sweets sponsored by Waitrose.

Also, a free raffle was held with prizes sponsored by Hidden Nature. The lucky winners of a nest box were Mr and Mrs Lee of Emsworth and the winners of a tree ID guide were Mr and Mrs Farmer of Milton, Portsmouth.

Listen to the evening songs

October 2, 2006 2006 Autumn No Comments

One of the pleasant things to do at this time of the year is to walk in the copse on a warm sunny evening to listen to the sounds around you. The bird calls are delightful.

We have been intrigued by the disappearing ducks. A while back a dozen or so ducklings appeared overnight on Willow Pond, stayed for one or two nights, then walked to Brandy Hole Pond, only to disappear completely the next day. Where did they go to? Perhaps they knew that the pond would dry up. The water level in all our ponds is determined by the water table, which is now at the lowest we have ever seen it. We will shortly need to remove most of the fish from Brandy Hole Pond by netting.

Unfortunately we still suffer from occasional vandalism. The dog bin on the Centurion Way crossing was broken off and had to be replaced. The platform at Brandy Hole Pond was badly damaged and had to be repaired, and the nearby leaflet box post which was pulled up and thrown into the pond has been replaced with a metal post.

The three entrances at the parking area need some attention. The northerly one has collapsed and we have taken the opportunity to close it off and continue the hedge along the roadside, which is kept in such good condition by the “Crumblies”.

The Wednesday working group have been active throughout the year on pond and woodland maintenance. A dipping platform has been built at Cops Pond, following our very successful pond dipping event. Repair and maintenance of paths steps and entrances will continue, and management of the glades to encourage butterflies.

In response to demand we intend to add more discreetly placed seats for the benefit of visitors as we have done in the glade area.

The CDC has been asked to install “cycle path” signs each end of the path linking Centurion Way with the Lane.

We understand that at long last the WSCC has finally conceded to our request for a safe pedestrian access to the Copse from Summersdale and proposes to start work to complete the footpath along Brandy Hole Lane in October. Unfortunately we have not been able to persuade WSCC that a 30mph speed limit is necessary along the parking area. So care is still needed when visiting the Copse and alighting from cars.

Jim Ayling, Task Leader

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