Protecting Devon from Development

I haven’t written anything in far too long… I have a backlog of posts to finish writing and frankly I’m ashamed of myself.

Anyway.

This is a bit of a depressing post (but with a small hint of positivity and a big dollop of importance) I’m afraid so strap in and make a cup of tea. Let’s get cracking.

I recently returned home to Devon to spend Christmas with my family. But driving around some of my favourite local places (Dartmouth, Totnes and Dartington) highlighted the current mass of development of unaffordable houses around the areas. I hate this. Every time I’ve been home across the last 6 months, I return to see more trees cut down, more hedgerows out of action and more green land being prepared for vast new housing estates. I believe we need the right quality homes in the right locations at the right price points, genuinely affordable to young people and low income families, but after completing comprehensive research on the matter, it’s obvious that a majority of the development on local Devon greenfield sites is inappropriate; not priced affordably for local people.

The frustrating fact is that Campaign to Protect Rural England’s (CPRE) annual State of Brownfield report shows that there is enough suitable brownfield land available in England for more than 1 million homes across over 18,000 sites. Yet developers choose the lush green sites because it’s cheaper.

As an environmentalist, I am seriously concerned about the threat of such development to wildlife and the lack of regulations surrounding this. The farmland I played in as a child (situated behind my grandmothers house in Totnes), has now been converted into luxury dwellings and during my walk around the new estate, I noticed that there is a considerable lack of greenery to support the biodiversity that once thrived on the land previous to the building.

I just don’t understand why it’s not a top priority for councils to make these estates (if we have to have them..) green! After all, we are currently in a mass extinction. I’m talking about planting up the areas in-between houses with insect friendly flowers, shrubs and trees. Using the small green triangles of land that separate areas of the estate to benefit nature and the environment. It would cost next to nothing (literally) and could be used to educate the new community on the importance of these spaces for the local wildlife. But no.. instead they’ll plant some tranquil looking, non-native species, grass that does bugger all for wildlife and will look shabby and bleak in a couple of years.

This all climaxed in my mind about a month ago, when I decided I had to do something about it. I’m sick of seeing precious greenspace developed for profit with no regard to the wildlife that inhabits there.

Subsequently, I contacted my local MP (and managed to keep my language grandma friendly!) to ask if they could lobby their fellow members of parliament to make a change and tighten the surrounding laws. After I received a pretty beat-around-the-bush reply (however I did appreciate the reply), I then decided to email the Minister of State for Housing, The Rt Hon. Esther McVey MP. I then proceeded to pester the local Councillor for Totnes, and the South Hams Council general enquiry service. Have I exhausted my efforts? Absol-bloody not. I’ve only just started.

Do I think that my emails will make any sort of difference at all? No. But it makes me feel a lot better sending them and feeling like I’m doing something about it. After all, they can’t concrete over the whole of Devon… Can they?!

For more information visit: https://www.cpredevon.org.uk/campaigns/right-homes-right-place/

Fundraising Through Music!

‘The Big Live Music Event, Totnes’ was my most recent fundraising event that I’ve organised – Don’t leave! I promise I’m not going to whittle on about how it went and be boring..

As an aspiring adventurer, my latest project is to climb nearly 6000m to the summit of mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania (the worlds tallest free-standing mountain!) in order to raise money and awareness for the Meningitis Research Foundation. My fundraising goal is £3000 and If I’m successful at raising this, then I will go ahead and ‘crack on’ with the climb.

Having a dad who is big in the music business; I decided to put on a fundraising gig. I managed to get a fantastic local venue (The Dartmouth Inn, Totnes), along with a band who I spotted at an open mic night at uni (The Busketeers. Check them out on Youtube). I also asked my dad to send out an email to all his musician contacts, asking them to come along and perform for charity. We had such an overwhelming, positive response from individual musicians and bands expressing their wish to come and perform, and we were so grateful for the support shown. Incredible musicians such as ‘Maggie Reeday’ and ‘Chris Gibbons’ kindly gave up their evenings to come along and perform for us, which was just totally fantastic! A local business kindly offered to sponsor the event too, for which I was also grateful.

The evening was a total success, raising over £500 towards my overall £3000 fundraising goal. Here are some pictures from the event.

Huge thanks to everyone who came along and supported ‘The BIG Live Music Event, Totnes’.

All the best,

Eve (ToobysTravels)