Labour Councillors led the debate last Thursday at the Regeneration and Property Committee for a new Nature Reserve on the land bordering the Stour behind the Wincheap Industrial Estate, extending from the A2 to the railway.
The proposed new Nature Reserve, designed to protect the flood plain from future development, was debated at the recent Canterbury Forum council meeting on 10th January. At this meeting Many members of the public contributed there expertise and thoughts about the proposed Nature Reserve that evening and the proposition was unanimously endorsed by the Cities Councillors who saw and supported the immense value of a protected wildlife corridor along the river bank.
However at Thursdays Regeneration and Property Committee the debate was focused on the Councils recommendation to establish a Nature Reserve on just part of the area. The rest of the designated flood plane site being covered in tarmac to accommodate an extension to the Wincheap Park and Ride.
The five Labour and LibDem Councillors all voted to supported the motion that the whole area to be designated a Nature Reserve, regrettably it was defeated when the seven Conservative Councillors all voting against it. A Council recommendation for the partial designation of the site, one that would accommodate the Park and Ride extension was passed by the Committee and will no doubt be established.
Following the political choice made by the Conservative Group to devalue the riverside green corridor we can only share the disappoint of residents of Canterbury especially. They have again seen local Conservative policies place the car user above the environment, let’s not forget the recent decision on the St Dunstans’ Multi Story Car Park that has staggered people across the district. There policies consistently fail to look hard and imaginatively for solution, dismissing ideas such as multi-story parking at Wincheap, building up not out.
We will always challenge those decisions that do not align with our Labour values and our Local Council Manifesto.