Saturday, 15 August 2020

Developer says sorry for cutting wildflowers

A DEVELOPER has apologised after its contractor cut a field of wildflowers by mistake.

Linden Homes, which has built 50 homes next to the land off Reades Lane, Sonning Common, admitted there had been an “error”.

The five-acre field belongs to the parish council and half of it was given over to wildflowers and grass meadow.

The plants had been left to grow for a series of children’s fun days due to take place during the school summer holidays.

These are organised by the Active Leader programme, which teaches young people to run events and activities. They took place last year for the first time.

Part of a ditch and bund along the boundary, which secured the site from vehicles, was also destroyed by the contractor in order for its tractor to get into the field.

Parish clerk Philip Collings said: “We’re absolutely enraged. So much work has gone into planning this. We had hundreds of children taking part in bug hunts, mini orienteering and things like that in the field last summer.

“We left half the field with wildflowers and weeds for this year and it didn’t look too bad.  It was deliberately unkempt because we wanted to hold activities and a maze and it was all to be used for the fun days. This has seriously upset the whole plan for that.”

Penny Snowden, who founded Active Leaders, said: “The point is that the land is not the developer’s.

“They have no right to do this at all. Quite why it was demolished I don’t know.

“We had come up with creative solutions for being educational and mindful about conservation. The activities benefited from having a lovely area to explore and were socially distanced.”

A Linden Homes spokesman said: “We employed a contractor to tidy up the verge, which we own, to the approach road to our development.

“As there is no physical boundary separating the verge and the field, our contractor assumed it was all to be mown, not realising the field is owned by Sonning Common Parish Council.

“We apologise for our error and we are in discussions with the parish council to work with them and the local community to rectify the situation.”

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