History is under threat’

RICH layers of history in Cambridgeshire s towns, villages and countryside could be squandered by development of homes and new infrastructure, countryside campaigners believe. At a summit meeting in Cambridge today (Wednesday), Tom Oliver, head of rural p

RICH layers of history in Cambridgeshire's towns, villages and countryside could be squandered by development of homes and new infrastructure, countryside campaigners believe.

At a summit meeting in Cambridge today (Wednesday), Tom Oliver, head of rural policy at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, was due to say: "The historic landscapes of East Anglia are breathtaking in their beauty, variety and extent.

"So much has survived into the 21st century that this is still a very attractive place to live and work.

"But 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."


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The "London to Peterborough Growth Area" had been imposed by the Government through its Sustainable Communities Plan, without any form of public consultation.

The Government was now using its own proposal for the Growth Area as the justification for what could be one of the greatest acts of environmental vandalism perpetrated in this country in the last 50 years, Mr Oliver was due to say.

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"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.

"Places which have retained their character for generations, and which everyone knows and loves, will be bludgeoned into a nightmare of an urban fringe - in Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, and Essex.

"The worrying uncertainty facing many family farmers now that the Government has agreed to some major reductions in funding for environmental farming schemes hardly helps matters.

"It puts yet more pressure on agricultural land which has been cultivated for many centuries.

"The 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."

* What do you think? Write to: Historic, The Hunts Post, 30, High Street, Huntingdon. PE29 3TB, E mail: editor@huntspost.co.uk

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