Collateral damage, a neighbour calls it and he’s right. Locals were aware that two housing developments were imminent off Underbarrow and the Brigsteer Road but we had no idea how far environmental damage would radiate- out. Down-slope of the two estates SUDS should protect the town of Kendal from extreme weather events and flooding, so it is hoped. But the extent of tree-felling, habitat loss and a reconstructed landscape well beyond the footprint of two housing estates has been a shock. We do not know when and where it will end. This latest SUDS site at the Ghyll was wholly unexpected. We do not recall this site being included on the plans shown at SLDC consultation meetings. The scale of tree-felling was not mapped. What was put before us was far less impactful. Plans seem to evolve with unforeseen accretions and pop-ups.
To discover the fate of The Ghyll, we are referred to planning application SL/2016/0952. A neighbour and I both try to find Reinstatement Plans. I want to know the name of the ecologist who drew up these plans. If an ecologist was consulted. Apparently the SLDC mapping system is temporarily unavailable. Neither of us could locate anything pertinent to The Ghyll at Brackenwood. Trawling through SLDC planning applications is far from straightforward, even for SLDC officials. On the theme of Collateral Damage, the concept is not only spatial but temporal, of gradual onset with updates and additions to the original plan. I think that's why those earlier SLDC consultation meetings have proved useless. Collateral Damage, is spreading out on all sides, over time.
We are given an assurance that, upon completion, The Ghyll basin will enhance the natural habitat of the area and support the already thriving wildlife. This morning we stand looking at the felled-trees and ripped out under-storey, hearing a few birds valiantly singing at the onset of the nesting season, hoping against hope we might believe it. But it’s unspecific, we don’t know what it means and we can’t track down those Reinstatement Plans.
This blog sequence shares what we can discover. I’d far rather write about what is inspirational in the natural world but the noise and disruption to our daily lives impacts constantly. Not everyone can get away from it.
The Ghyll, these housing developments, are a microcosm. In Kendal, all over the UK, the pattern is repeated.
Residents are angry to see the destruction of a cherished environment, at The Ghyll. And anger is exacerbated because no-one tells us what is happening. Yet again, I search the SLDC website re planning applications to find Reinstatement Plans and interactive maps are not available.
With a friend who accompanied me to SLDC consultations back in 2014, I'm at the junction of Underwood and the Brigsteer Road and we contemplate tree-felling already far beyond what we were led to expect. Two men from WIlsons the builders are by the roadside, contemplating the course of the ghyll and the point in the stone wall where water will be discharged into the sump below. As for the overall plan here, they don't know.