Warden quits in meadow row

IPSWICH: A wildlife warden has stepped down amid a row over the controversial sale of land on the edge of town.

Ray Sidaway resigned in protest at Ipswich Borough Council’s decision to sell Kiln Meadow to developers.

Sandwiched between Spring Wood and Bobbit’s Lane nature reserve, Kiln Meadow is home to one of the largest recorded colonies of toads in the country. But the borough is selling the site to make way for new homes.

A leading member of a campaign to save 11-acre Kiln Meadow from development, Mr Sidaway said: “Kiln Meadow is also an important corridor for watercourses feeding nearby water meadows and Belstead Brook.

“I believe the council has not properly considered the full environmental impact of selling the meadow for housing development and fear that the wildlife that lives there will be destroyed forever for the sake of a short term financial gain for the council.”

The voluntary warden has looked after adjoining local nature reserve, Spring Wood, for the past six years and been involved in its upkeep for nearly 15 years.

He added: “As I have been acting as an unpaid, voluntary warden of Spring Wood for the council, I believe that my position is now untenable.”

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Despite the council’s decision to sell the site, Save Kiln Meadow (SKiM) pressure group is seeking leave to appeal for a judicial review.

The council said development can only take place on seven of the 11 acres and that land left clear as a nature reserve includes the area used by 90 per cent of the toad colony.

A borough spokesman said: “Clearly we are disappointed that Ray felt he had to stand down and we would like to thank him for his great service as a volunteer.

“The Kiln Meadow plans are going through the normal processes, but we do want to stress that they include maintaining a large area of open space as well as a commitment by the council to make a major investment in green spaces across the borough.”

n What do you think of the latest twist in the continuing controversy over Kiln Meadow? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstar letters@eveningstar.co.uk

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