Belle Vue Road protest update: dozens join fight to save apple tree and badger sett
DOZENS of protesters have joined the fight to save an old apple tree and a badger sett on land off Belle Vue Road.
Environmental activist Rowan Burrough climbed the tree at Abercairn around 10am yesterday, (Wednesday) after he discovered that contractors were going to cut it down to make way for 14 properties.
“I heard chainsaws and when I got here to my total amazement I saw a huge badger sett at the bottom of the tree," he said.
Rowan, 44, is calling for the apple tree and the badger sett to be fenced off and made into a nature reserve.
Today, dozens of protesters have joined Rowan, including Green councillor Molly Scott Cato, activist James Beecher and residents from the Belle Vue Road area.
They have decorated the tree with banners and flags.
Cllr Scott Cato said: "The main concern here is that the conditions surrounding the protection of the badgers haven't been met.
"And it is important that people in this ward get to experience green space.
"We opposed the application when it first went in. It is my job to represent the badgers, the trees, the wildlife and the people who will flourish when the environment is protected.
"It helps to protest these decisions because we need to change the policies. Planning does not value nature at the moment."
It is understood the developer has plans in place to relocate the badgers to a new sett.
However, Vanessa Price, from Whiteshill, who has been taking part in Wounded Badger Patrols in the Gloucestershire cull zone believes the badgers are still at Abercain.
"We have been doing the patrols for the past five weeks and we have not come across a sett this big," she said.
"The soil is still very fresh, they are still here."
Rod Shaw, of Slad, who was involved in saving the trees at Stratford Park when Tesco was built, has also joined the protest.
He said: "Stroud is seen as a green town so it is absolutely out of order that this is going on.
"It should have been taken into account that there is a 100-year-old tree on this land.
"It is just vandalism."
Amanda Godber, of Down to Earth food coop said: "Fruit trees are our heritage. This tree will be here long after we are.
"It needs protecting and nurturing.
"It is a natural resource and should not be seen as disposable."
Developer Gerry Walsh is currently abroad and unable to comment.
However, his planning agent Ben Read, of Hunter Page Planning, said: "He is doing everything in accordance with the policies and has the necessary planning permissions and consents.
"The trees were looked at as part of the planning application and no preservation orders were put in place.
"An ecologist was appointed to deal with badger relocation and is on site to make sure that everything is done correctly."
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