Fence campaigners to carry on fight

CAMPAIGNERS who are angry at being “fenced in” on a public right of way today pledged not to give up their fight to have the ugly barriers removed.Conservationists have admitted they made mistakes in putting up the fencing at Levington - and say they never meant to upset residents, only to protect nesting birds.

CAMPAIGNERS who are angry at being “fenced in” on a public right of way today pledged not to give up their fight to have the ugly barriers removed.

Conservationists have admitted they made mistakes in putting up the fencing at Levington - and say they never meant to upset residents, only to protect nesting birds.

But villagers are furious that despite the apology, no action is likely to be taken to remove the fences alongside meadowland leading to a well-used riverside path.

Campaigner June Langford said, “It is galling that public servants, using public money without good cause, have admitted to major and fundamental errors, yet seem to be unaccountable and have no means to undo the damage that has been done.

“One can only conclude the fencing is a pre-emptive attempt to stop the public from having a right of way along the clifftop beside Levington foreshore in years to come, and this rather weak argument about protecting birds is simply an attempt to justify putting it up.”

Spokesman for the campaign group Levington4all, David Hoult said: “We had obtained e-mail correspondence from Suffolk County Council staff which showed the county council questioned the arguments for the fencing, and were very concerned about the effect it would have on the right of way.

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“They also expressed grave doubts about the use of public money on the project. At the meeting, they were clearly supportive of the case for maintaining public access and also expressed frustration their views had been ignored by the Suffolk Coast and Heath unit.

“During the meeting a representative from Suffolk Wildlife Trust offered to commission independent research to back up their original claims, while we welcome this, it does not resolve the issue of the fencing that many feel is spoiling an oArea of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”

Simon Hooton, manager of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Unit said: “We didn't get some things right. The community consultation wasn't right and we didn't pick up the vibes and concerns that the fencing would not be appreciated.

“We should have had longer consultation so that more people knew about the work and alternatives could have been considered.”

The fencing prevents walkers and dogs leaving the footpath and taking a short-cut across a meadow, which provides night time roosting for skylarks, owls and birds of prey, is important for over-wintering species such as snipe and jack snipe, and in summer scarce birds such as redshank and lapwing.

What do you think of the fences? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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