Queen guitarist Brian May blasts ‘Greed’ of Heathpark Wood developers


Brian May and campaigners

13 August 2015 by Charlotte Neal

Musician has hit out at plans for more than 100 homes, stating “housing is not needed” so there’s “no excuse for destroying trees and wildlife communities”.

Dr Brian May’s Save Me Trust is backing the Windlesham Heathpark Wood Group’s campaign. Campaigners are celebrating after a legendary rock star threw his weight behind their battle to halt plans for 140 homes in Windlesham. Queen guitarist Brian May, who is co-head of animal protection trust Save Me, has called ideas to build on woodland in the village where he lives ‘weak’ and said he will do all he can to raise awareness of the campaign.

It comes just days after the Windlesham Heathpark Wood Group hand-delivered its 10-page objection to Surrey Heath Borough Council (SHBC).

The group says Charles Church Southern Ltd and Sentinel Housing Association’s outline plan for the homes, community facilities, open space and landscaping at Heathpark Wood are unnecessary and would affect biodiversity.

Speaking this week, Dr May said he agreed and stressed he felt the case against development was so strong, it was ‘laughable’.

“The latest word from Surrey Heath Borough Council is it’s met its building quota, so housing is not needed,” he said. “It’s an open and shut case really. The case for such development is so weak and is obviously motivated by money. There are brownfield sites available so there’s no excuse for destroying trees that have taken hundreds of years to grow and wildlife communities that will never be replaced. People live in these places because they want to be by the woods and countryside and unfortunately unscrupulous people are making it impossible for that kind of environment to survive.”

TMS Campaigners against the Heathpark Wood development in Windlesham Campaigners against the Heathpark Wood development in Windlesham Save Me has filed an official objection – as have 268 others including Natural England, the West Surrey Badger Group and Windlesham Parish Council. The plans have attracted just two letters of support.

A spokesman for Persimmon Homes Thames Valley, Persimmon being parent company to Charles Church, said it had formally consulted residents and used their feedback to inform its application.

“It is very important to us we build much-needed and desirable new homes that meet the needs of the local market within the parameters of the local plan,” they added.

However, Dr May said a victory in Windlesham would not only be of local importance, but highlight the need for wildlife protection nationally.

“It’s a local issue but it’s also a global issue because we are covering the world with concrete,” he said. “Everything is about the economy, money and building. We seem to be in going on this mania for growth and really what we need to protect is quality of life, compassion and decency, not just for ourselves but our neighbours and the animals that live in this country. We all have a right to exist, live, have some peace in our homes. I will support it [the campaign] in any way I can.”

Ann Fenton, chairman of the campaign group, said: “We are absolutely delighted that we have his group and himself [Dr May] as such a high profile supporter and we hope that will help to make people very aware of what’s going on. We are very passionate about this.

“It just seems ridiculous, especially as it was turned down in 1999 as unsuitable. You could say that things have moved on since then but actually they haven’t, it’s got worse because traffic is higher and the pressure on the village is more.”The borough council has set a tentative decision date for September 10.