Sunday, 19 February 2012

Author attacks 'desecration' as plan to build on Watership Down is approved Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2101665/Watership-Down-common-bulldozed-make-way-2-000-homes.html#ixzz1mjl2s5IY

The author of Watership Down spoke of the ‘utter desecration of a beautiful piece of countryside’ yesterday after plans were approved to build 2,000 homes on the land which inspired the novel and film.

Richard Adams, 91, vowed to continue fighting the proposed development at Sandleford in Berkshire and added: ‘Once these places are built over, they are lost for ever.’

In his book, published 40 years ago, a colony of rabbits are forced to flee Sandleford Warren and find a new home miles away.

Adams was born and raised in Wash Common village, which backs on to land surrounding Sandleford Park, and would explore it as a boy. Watership Down, his debut novel, describes how a hoarding is put up advertising an ‘ideally situated estate, for high-class modern residences’.


Now fiction threatens to become reality after West Berkshire Council voted 33 to 12 in favour of the plan to build 2,000 homes on the hillside.

The council says it needs 10,500 more homes by 2026 to cater for Newbury’s growing population. But Adams – who for 20 years worked as assistant secretary at the Ministry of Town and Country Planning – has pledged to fight the plan ‘tooth and nail’.

‘I am absolutely incensed and horrified by what the council have done,’ he said at his home 11 miles from the planned development. He said he could never have imagined the proposal happening when he wrote Watership Down, which was turned into a Hollywood animated film in 1978 with the hit theme song Bright Eyes.

‘We haven’t given up the fight yet. I am in touch with the local group and they’re discussing what they can do next to get this overturned. It’s only outline consent at the moment and that is the best stage to stop them. If and when someone  actually applies for planning permission to build, we can pull out all the stops to stop them.’

Adams’s wife Elizabeth, 87, said: ‘I grew up near there and as a girl I used to wander the fields full of wild flowers, listening to all the birds singing.

‘On our wedding day, September 26, 1949, we didn’t fancy anything for breakfast except mushrooms. My sister went out there and picked some wild mushrooms which we really enjoyed. It would be heartbreaking to see it all bulldozed and built over. We must do all we can to halt it in its tracks.’



Read on:  
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2101665/Watership-Down-common-bulldozed-make-way-2-000-homes.html?ito=feeds-newsxml 

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