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Will a wildlife crime be committed?

Niki Carter | 20.06.2010 08:35 | Free Spaces | Oxford

North Hinksey Parish Council are carrying out unecessary work on a lovely bit of woodland, despite local opposition.

Even though 137 people signed a petition to save a tiny bit of woodland near us, North Hinksey Parish Council are going ahead. We love the little bit of woodland as it is. Some of us enjoy the wildlife in it and the hundreds of birds from wrens to long tailed tits and noise daws and some of us use the wild wood as a respite and cure from work and troubles. All the small area needs is a bit of care, like taking out dead branches. The Parish Council's consultation process was a hollow joke.
Of the 137 petitioners, there are over 20 active members of CopseWatch and for over a year we have asked again and again for a proper consultation with concerned local people and again and again for proper maps and plans but nothing. We have resorted to FOI Act for some of the information but it is amazing how Councils can wiggle out of things. Did you know that Parish Councils are answerable to no-one? The ombudsman only kicks in at District level. This has to change.
In February the council staged a 'consultation' which they the reported so insufficiently that we don't even know how many people turned up, where they came from or what their comments were! People without the internet are disenfranchised and we are all treated with contempt by Parish Councillors.
That the Parish Council can spend so much of our taxes on work most locals do not want done is wrong anyway but at this time of redundancies etc, it is obscene.
Not only are the Parish Council planning to build paths and platforms and reroute a stream but they are doing it now! Today. While birds are nesting or fledging and while mammals are foraging for their young. The main work begins at the end of the week apparently (they won't give us exact information). Why not wait till September, as RSPB suggest? What is wrong with these people?
We even called an election for a vacant seat on the council because so many members a co-opted but then found out we would have to fund all the advertising and all the leaflets and just couldn't afford it. The Parish Council did not announce the election at a meeting, we had to call the Vale to find out if there was going to be one or not, and they did not advertise it on their web with the result that most people didn't even know there was an election. As there were only two candidates with similar platforms, one me, I dropped out to save money but this is wrong. Democracy does not exist.
Oh and some of the money the Parish Council want to do this work, and I think they have got it, is from the disastrous development on Cumnor Hill at the old Timbmet site, an SSSI - no longer so special.

Niki Carter
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