I noticed a report on the excellent Fixmystreet today. The report, by one Steven Guest, says the following:
I was on the understanding this was either common land or green belt, but for the last 2 days a JCB is flattening the land, pulling out hedges and shrubbery and trees. Can you find out what is going on as there as been no planning permission, we had two characters with a measuring stick come down Engine Lane. As there is a public footpath on the land I would like to make sure travellers etc. are not preparing the site for an illegal site.
My interest was piqued by this, so I popped over to Engine Lane, Brownhills on my way home from work to have a look. The small paddock to the west of the track to Marklew’s Pond has indeed been scraped clean. A new lock secures the main gate at the side of Engine Lane, and the catch on the gate into the adjoining, large field to the north has been recently replaced.
Steven is quite right that the field has been scraped bare – as the above photo shows, it’s been done rather well. The scrub uprooted remains in a pile in the centre of the scraped area. The hedge adjoining the road has been left relatively untouched. Steven is, however, wrong in a couple of aspects; this is marked as common land on recent OS maps but it’s a privately held field as far as I can ascertain; furthermore, no rights of way cross it. The only footpath nearby notified as a right of way is the track from Engine Lane to the Rising Sun Island, running east of the pond. The only planning application near the site outstanding is one for the storage company over the road.
Whoever has done this hasn’t, as far as I can tell, broken any laws or undertaken prohibited works; it’s just scrub clearance in a private paddock, but it bears watching. I don’t really think it’s the beginning of some invasion, but it may well pay to keep an eye on what’s going on there.
A doff of the cap to Steven for his public spirited gesture in reporting this for further investigation. I welcomee readers with any information to comment here or mail me at BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.