Amber Warning: by Amber Kirk-Ford, February 10, 2015

L14-073 Leighton Buzzard Sandhills new housing estate. Scene setters 'Steve Sims'JR 5'24.1.14 ENGPNL00120140124115659
L14-073 Leighton Buzzard Sandhills new housing estate. Scene setters 'Steve Sims'JR 5'24.1.14 ENGPNL00120140124115659
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Have your say

May last year brought with it a surprising amount of sunshine, more ice cream than I care to mention and the possibility that Downham and Wimbotsham’s last remaining green spaces could be built on. Along with hundreds of other locals, I strongly opposed those plans, and I still do. Fortunately, we’ve started to fight back.

An online petition spearheaded by local resident Kelvin Loveday has attracted over 900 signatures to date, which goes to show how treasured these countryside gems are.

Saying that, it’s not just a case of treasuring them – we simply don’t have the infrastructure to accommodate for hundreds of new families. As it is, schools are bursting at the seams, surgeries and dentists are full, and we only have one local hospital between all of the surrounding towns and villages. I won’t go into the strain our sewage works are under, but I’m sure you can imagine.

In his latest newsletter to supporters of the Downham and Wimbotsham green belt, Loveday said: “We have shown already that we as caring residents can, through weight of numbers, save green space. We have already succeeded in getting 10 hectares removed from the local housing strategy plan. We must now target more green belt areas.”

I’ve always lived in Downham, but until the age of 9 I lived in a different house. From my bedroom window there were fields as far as the eye could see, and birds in the trees acted as my alarm clock every morning.

A couple of years before we moved out, the view got spoilt. Instead of having a stunning country view to look at, loads of houses had been built right against our garden fence.

I don’t want this to happen again, and I’m sure people who live as close as I did will agree.

We cannot support the building of 400-plus homes in our town. We are already stretched to the limit, and our facilities have been struggling with the weight of demand for years. I believe it’s time for the council to look elsewhere.

How can you help? The council will be holding a meeting regarding the Borough Council’s housing proposal tonight at 7pm at the Paradise Road offices in Downham.

Do come along if you want these green spaces to be saved. And if you can’t make it, sign the online petition at you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-the-downham-market-and-wimbotsham-green-belt. Building hundreds of homes on our land would impact us for years – signing the petition takes a second.

Whatever age you are, I’m sure you’ve found yourself saying “I remember when all this was fields” at some point in your life. I have several times, despite hoping that I’d never have reason to.

I understand the need for new homes, but keeping green space is just as important, for us and for future generations. Isn’t it the endless fields, hidden paths, and pretty ponds in leafy terrain that make Downham and Wimbotsham so great? Why cover it all in concrete and brick? This is meant to be the countryside. Let’s keep it that way.