DEFENDING OUR GREEN AND PLEASANT LAND
It is hard to believe, in the 1970s, this magnificent countryside was threatened, firstly by plans for a housing estate and secondly a municipal golf course. Emotions ran high and the Allesley & Coundon Wedge Conservation Society was born. Although we won that round, we were unable, in the 1980s, to stop a new factory access road from carving its way through the heart of the Wedge. Amazingly, even in the supposedly greener and more enlightened twenty-first century, the development threat persists. In 2006, the local press reported plans to sacrifice the Wedge to Coventry's surge for 'accelerated growth'. An intensive lobbying campaign led to the City Council's voting unanimously to keep Coundon Wedge as a green and open space. We might have won at local level, but the story does not end there. Central Government, in their bid to meet housing targets are looking everywhere for new building land and could still overrule local councillors, once again putting the Wedge at risk.
A COUNTRYSIDE FOR BOTH PEOPLE AND NATURE
The Society has an ideal partner in Coventry City's Countryside Project team, sharing common aims of improving public access and creating an environment to encourage a natural and rich diversity of flora and fauna. Achievements over the years include the building and maintenance of footpaths, gates, bridges and fences, taking care to provide access for the disabled. Northbrook Pool was restored, attracting ducks, moorhens and an array of water life. Many hundreds of trees have been planted, including the creation of two new woods; the Society also helped the Woodland Trust acquire Elkin Wood, so ensuring its survival and proper management. In addition, we supported a detailed ecological survey of Coundon Wedge and now manage two meadows, cutting them specifically to encourage wild flowers. In 2002, in partnership with the City Council, the ACWCS established the Jubilee Nature Reserve in a triangle of land opposite the Elms public house. The following year we obtained permission to turn a small piece of ground, off the Birmingham Road, into a memorial garden to the late Molly and Rob Anderson. Molly and Rob, who used to grow their vegetables on this plot, were founder members and active supporters of the ACWCS. Both sites are marked on our walks leaflet.
HISTORIC BUILDINGS AND DISTINCTIVE NEIGHBOURHOODS
For anyone interested in local history, our booklet "Buildings of Allesley" will make fascinating reading. Allesley, Coundon and Brownshill Green are areas rich in historic buildings and neighbourhoods of great charm and distinction. The Society is committed to the preservation of all that is best in our collective heritage, not only challenging inappropriate planning applications, but looking for ways to improve the setting and add interest. By way of example, we were involved in the negotiations to erect period style lighting in Allesley Village and more recently, after locating the site of the original village pump, we installed a working replica. At the strategic level, under the slogan "better not bigger", we have fiercely campaigned against the City's extraordinary growth plans, as they threaten to swamp us with infill developments, swallow up green belt and put a strain on the infrastructure. We are also concerned at the effect of "garden grabbing" on the character of some of our more distinctive neighbourhoods, as leafy suburban gardens become densely built housing estates.
COMMUNITY, MEMBERSHIP AND KEEPING IN TOUCH
Full details of our current activities, including practical work, our monthly clubnights, with guest speakers and our participation in the Allesley Festival are available in our latest newsletter. If you are not already a member and would like to join, please go to our on-line membership page.