A PIECE of ancient woodland has been saved from development.

For several years Bonds Meadow, a three-acre plot near Bovey Tracey town centre, had been living under threat of development, but last week during discussions about the Local Plan, Teignbridge Council designated it as a Green Space. That classification means that it cannot be built on and must remain open land.

Bonds Meadow, Bovey Tracey
Bonds Meadow, Bovey Tracey (-)

The meadow is owned by the National Trust after being bequeathed the plot in the 1970s by a Major Hole.

The Trust was hoping to sell the land and use the proceeds to maintain its nearby Parke Estate.

Among developers believed to have expressed an interest in buying the land were Rule Five, who are currently developing the Challabrook estate in Monks Way, Bovey Tracey.

Aiming to fight any sale and subsequent development, the campaign group Save Bonds Meadow (SBM) was formed in early 2021. They mounted their own GoFundMe campaign to raise the money to purchase the meadow themselves. While no confirmed figure was mentioned, it’s believed a sum of £300k was the asking price.

Bovey Tracey resident and SBM member Sally Morgan said: ‘The trust was always of a mind to sell it so when it went on the market we were ready and started our first crowdfunder immediately.

‘Any money already pledged will be used for re-wilding projects in the Bovey Tracey area or maintenance of the meadow.

‘The Green Spaces classification means it cannot be built on – unless there is a change in legislation. It will be safe for years to come. This is a great victory!

‘There are more than 1,000 trees in the meadow. With the climate in free fall we need to keep as many trees as possible.’

Sally praised Bovey Tracey Town Council’s own Neighbourhood Plan (NP) which she said no doubt influenced the district authority’s decision.

Town clerk Mark Wells explained: ‘The draft version of the Neighbourhood Plan included Bonds Meadow as a Local Green Space. However, this was removed by the Examiner as it conflicted with it then being designated as being suitable for development. The town council is very pleased with the final outcome and the Teignbridge decision.’

Cllr Robert Bradshaw, who was instrumental in drafting the Neighbourhood Plan and chaired the steering committee said: ‘This is great news. In the NP we identified that parcel of land as a major element in providing a wildlife corridor in the parish. It contains bat flight paths and I believe dormice have also been found there.

‘I thank Teignbridge for being able to listen and react to the town council and local pressure groups

‘We do need more housing in the parish but Bonds Meadow should never, ever have been considered. The decision is very welcome.’

Sally added: ‘This is tremendous news. Looking to the future we are happy to work with the National Trust, if they are happy to work with us

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