Third Battle of Newbury

P.O. BOX 5520, Newbury, Berks. RG14 7YW.

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Immediate Release Wednesday 11th March 1997


Newbury Bypass Campaigners welcome Holtsfield March


Residents of the threatened Holtsfield Community, which is located in the Gower Wales are marching to the House of Lords for their make or break appeal hearing. They will be accompanied by Newbury Bypass Campaigners walking from Kintbury as they follow the Kennet and Avon Canal westwards. There will be a reception at 1.30 p.m. on Thursday 11th March at West Mills in Newbury.

The Holtsfield community was initially established as a refuge for those whose homes were bombed in the second world war. Today the chalets, former holiday chalets remain and continue to house a vibrant living community of sixty people; young and old with a wide variety of occupations. The tightly knit community is a haven for its children who grow up in a traffic free environment close to nature. The Holtsfield Community continues to receive strong support from the Welsh Office, Swansea City Council and surrounding residents.

Since early 1990 Property developers Elitestone Ltd have been trying to build executive homes with a access road onto the Holtsfield site. Elitestone have unsuccessfully sort to overturn the conservation status of the area and used various means to try to evict and intimidate the Holtsfield residents.

In October 1990 the County Court Bailiff arrived to take procession of the chalets however over 300 local supporters and residents including the local rugby team assembled to prevent eviction. On November 22nd 1995 at 7.30 a.m the High Court Sheriff and Elitestone 'security' guards entered the site and tried to evict the barricaded chalets. Residents including children, 200 supporters and the local vicar were brutally treated and two chalets destroyed. The South Wales Police, who were present in a monitoring capacity then recommended the Bailiffs withdraw.

Elitestone Ltd have rejected an offer of half a million pounds from the residents patrons -The Dandelion Trust. The land is estimated to be worth only £320,000. Residents have now directed their campaign to Barclays Bank who have been funding the loss making Elitestone Ltd from its inception.


Editors Notes

Press liaison and on the ground liaison: Martin Jakes

Picture Editors Notes

Newbury Bypass Campaigners will welcome Holtsfield marchers at the Swing Bridge in West Mills, Newbury at 1.30 p.m. Between six and a dozen walkers are expected.