Third Battle of Newbury

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

Tel: 01635 45544 Fax: 01635 45545 24 hr info: 01635 550552

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Immediate Release Friday 25th October 1996


Third Battle of Newbury calls for resignation

of conservation body's Chairman

The Third Battle of Newbury is calling for the resignation of Mr Alex Seccombe as Chairman of the recently formed Kennet Valley Countryside Project (KVCP)[1]. In a letter to KVCP's Project Officer Sally Wallington they say Mr Seccombe is completely unsuited to lead a conservation body as he is Resident Agent of a company intending to develop an Aggregate Quarry beside the river Kennet.

Mr Alex Seccombe, a local Parish Councillor for Speen in the West of Newbury, is employed by Sir Richard Sutton Settled Estates as Resident Agent. Sutton Estates have a substantial land holding to the west of Newbury. This includes land in the Kennet Valley, around the River Kennet - a Site of Special Scientific Interest(SSSI); one of this country's most pristine wildlife sites and home of the rare Desmoulin's Whorl snail. The River Kennet is only one of two chalk rivers designated as SSSI's and is under consideration as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) by the European Community.

The Aggregates Quarry for the Newbury Bypass will take a quarter of a million cubic metres of aggregates from the water meadows in the heart of the Kennet Valley. There has never been an Environmental Impact Assessment for the Quarry. The Quarry has been given extraction permission by Berkshire County Council despite the fact that it was not originally designated as a recognised area in the mineral local plan. Sutton Estate are expected to gain very substantial earnings from the Quarry. Sutton Estates have also put forward proposals to develop housing.

A Third Battle Spokesperson said

"Alex Seccombe's appointment as Chairman of the Kennet Valley Countryside Project is sheer hypocrisy. If he really cared about our natural heritage he'd be preserving irreplaceable wildlife sites in the Kennet Valley rather than tearing them to pieces." ENDS

Editors Notes

[1] The Kennet Valley Countryside Project lists its aim to: 'Conserve and enhance the landscape and wildlife habitats in the [Kennet]valley' . It's inaugural meeting was held on Tuesday October 22nd 1996.
Richard Sutton Estate Office: 01635 40036