Save Wenny Road Meadow meeting: 30th September 2021

We had a meeting on 30th September 2021. It was advertised via Facebook and (unfortunately a bit late) via email to previous attendees.

What have we done so far?

Website update

The website was updated in early September 2021 with details on how to object, including lots of information that people could refer to within their objections.

We also added more images and some press releases in the latest news section of the site. Some of these press releases have resulted in local news coverage.


We had leaflets printed, and these were delivered around town by more than 50 volunteers. These leaflets directed people to the website. There have since been more than 330 objections on the planning portal, with two neutral comments. There are no comments in support of the application.

We printed and delivered the leaflets in two batches. We delivered to houses closest to the meadow first, working outwards from the meadow until we ran out of leaflets. We haven’t done any analysis to see how much the response rate dropped off as we delivered leaflets further away from the meadow.


We printed 7 banners, which are displayed around town. We wanted to include a picture of the meadow so that people can easily see the space we’re seeking to protect, but this has resulted in the banners not showing up very well in the dark. The banners in town (Park Street and High Street) are probably more effective when on-foot. If we decide to get more banners printed then we’ll opt for higher contrast colours, but we don’t think there is time (or sufficient reason) to buy more banners unless the application is delayed. It could be determined on 27th October (at the earliest).


We have had some success with getting stories in the press. We typically issue press releases with photographs, and try to do as much work for the newspaper as possible (in terms of providing quotes and text that can be used in the article) so it is easier for them to carry our stories.

The Fenland Citizen:

  • Two articles (a general one, and one about Evelyn speaking at the town council meeting) in 17th September edition and online
  • A letter from Chatteris Town Council the following week
  • Further press releases not picked up
  • [Since the meeting] An article about the children’s letters appeared online and in the 6th October edition

The Cambs Times:

  • A general article (including developer viability claims) on the front page of 10th September edition and online
  • An article about Evelyn speaking at the town council meeting online
  • A letter from Chatteris Town Council the following week
  • Further press releases not picked up
  • [Since the meeting] The article about Evelyn speaking at the town council meeting appeared, somewhat belatedly, in the 1st October edition – including in the masthead of the front page

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire:

  • A marvellous piece, including an on-location report from Johnny Dee, on the Jeremy Sallis show on 21st September 2021 (available on BBC Sounds until mid-October)

Children’s letters

Evelyn organised a children’s letter writing campaign. More than 50 letters (now nearly 60) have been written and sent to the council. If your child would like to do this too, there are some letter templates here.

Letters to Steve Barclay and the Combined Authority

We have written to:

  • Steve Barclay MP
  • Cllr Chris Boden, who has a Health and Wellbeing role at the Combined Authority
  • Cllr Bridget Smith, who has an Environment & Climate Change role at the Combined Authority
  • Dr Nik Johnson, Mayor of the Combined Authority

Environmental Law Foundation

We have written to The Environmental Law Foundation to ask for help. They give legal advice on environmental issues, including planning applications affecting biodiversity and green spaces. They have 150 volunteer lawyers and work with university student law centres. We haven’t yet heard back.

Consultee Responses

A number of consultees have commented on the planning application. Here’s the latest from each of them:

  • Wildlife officer: insufficient information to make a decision (the applicant must provide more information)
  • Wildlife Trust: rejects claim there will be net biodiversity gain, instead estimating a 25%-36%+ net biodiversity loss
  • Froglife: concerned about habitat loss for reptiles
  • Highways: insufficient information, asked FDC not to determine until more information has been provided
  • Ambulance service: wants more than £20,000 developer contributions and new traffic calming measures
  • Cambs County Council: says that approx £950,000 developer contributions are needed to cover capital needs of education provision
  • Anglian Water: not currently acceptable, unacceptable flood risk downstream (The Elms?)
  • Ramblers: the council should consider making it a park and improving access

New consultees have been added. The Conservation Officer has until 14th October to comment. Natural England has also asked to be consulted, and has until 15th October to respond.


All spending by the Save Wenny Road Meadow campaign has been covered by residents, and other kind residents have contributed to covering some of these costs. The campaign group hasn’t done any general fundraising so doesn’t hold any money.

Things we’ve spent money on include:

  • The website renewal (~£45)
  • Leaflets (~£90)
  • Banners (~£70)
  • Other small costs such as printing, etc.

What should we do next?

If you can help with any of this, please get in touch or post on the Facebook group.

A Public Event 

We have been offered a venue to host an event. We want to hold a series of talks in the run-up to the decision.

We’d like speakers on the following topics:

  • The landscape
  • Ecology (especially bats)
  • The impact of green space on health
  • Forest schools
  • Photography at the meadow
  • Anything else that seems relevant

We have some people in mind for some of these sessions, but none are confirmed. If you know of anyone who could speak on one of these topics, please let us know!

We’d invite:

  • Townsfolk
  • Local Town, District, and County Councillors
  • The members of the planning committee
  • Steve Barclay MP
  • Dr Nik Johnson, Mayor of the Combined Authority
  • Local press (papers, radio, TV)

If you’re able to volunteer to take on the organisation of the event, or an aspect of the event, or even just help out on the day, then we’d also love to hear from you.

Letter writing

We discussed some ideas:

  • Writing letters to the planning committee
  • Encouraging people to send photos of their walks in the meadow to councillors on the planning committee
  • Sending postcards to councillors

Some of these pose some challenges:

  • People may already feel that, in writing objections, they’ve done a lot so uptake might not be high
  • If engagement is high, councillors might feel less “engaged with” and more disgruntled
  • Printing and sending postcards could be expensive (eg, 66p per postcard for a stamp): who will pay for that?

If you have any thoughts/ideas, or want to co-ordinate a campaign, please get in touch.

Engaging with a barrister or planning consultant

We are looking for a barrister or planning consultant who could represent us at the planning meeting. We have started discussions with some, but if you know of anyone who could help out then please get in touch as soon as possible.

Drawing up plans for a country park vision

We’d like to draw up some plans for what a “country park” at Wenny Meadow could look like. We think that some scepticism we hear comes from a lack of understanding about our vision.

Obviously, the aim of keeping the meadow would be to retain it as it is as much as possible. There are, however, some small changes that could be made to improve the accessibility of the site, and to create places that groups (such as Scouts/Guides, forest schools, etc) could better connect with the outdoors. There are also some improved habitat management aspects that could be enacted.

If anyone knows of an architect who could draw up some plans and/or an artist who could help create some concept art, please get in touch.

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