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QED Launch is Announced

Queensway Environmental Defenders is LaunchedNo, not the luxury cruise liner QE2. That's already been launched. This is the launch of 'Queensway Environmental Defenders' on 24th September.

It's a new group dedicated to defending the countryside areas around Queensway in St Anne's from the threat of inappropriate development, and it claims to stand ready to spearhead the opposition to Kensington's 1,150 additional houses and apartment blocks plan.

It seems their launch shindig will be held at the same Church Hall (St Alban's on Kilnhouse Lane), that Kensington held the public display of their own plans. Nice touch that.

The event itself is a mixture of activity that seems designed to appeal to a wide range of folk. It includes:

  • a screening of a rare short film made by local filmmaker Peter Wilson about a battle that took place at 'Mad Nook' in 1532 (Seems at that time that Mad Nook was a place which marked the boundary between 'Lythum' and 'Laton' - more or less where Division Lane runs nowadays (ie just on the edge of Queensway land). We understand this is a fairly light hearted - and interesting - film featuring local actors (who are now a bit longer in the tooth), and is based on the researches of Kathleen Eyre.
  • The more serious part will be some short introductory talks from QED themselves (who we believe will focus on the impact of the proposal for St Anne's and its residents, and how this scheme is just one part of a much bigger picture); then a session from the well respected Alison Jack of 'Defend Lytham' who will explain how the scheme as proposed also carries potential for flooding damage in Lytham and Ballam. We understand there will also be comment from a local environmental group about the loss of an important and biologically diverse habitat, and threats to wildlife and protected areas if the scheme goes ahead.
  •  There will also be a cheese and wine session for informal chatting and networking.

Bringing the talks to a conclusion, there will be questions and time for people attending to make their views known and help chart the course that QED takes, together with a chance for an informal chat with those leading the organisation.

Whilst Kensington may be there in one guise or another, we understand they are not actually being invited to participate in the launch night.

counterbalance did a bit of fishing into the background of this new organisation, and found out that QED has very close links the highly successful Defend Lytham group. It is also a member of the Fylde Civic Awareness Group that organised the Save St Anne's meeting we reported earlier this year, so whilst they may not yet have a track record, they are well connected.

The event starts at 7:00 pm. It's a ticket admission do, with tickets at £3 each. They are being sold via the Fylde Civic Awareness Group, (although if you want to take a risk on getting in or not, you can probably turn up on the night and pay there).

The group's blurb says proceeds will go toward the meeting costs and campaigning. If any of our readers are interested, you can find out more from the group's website at www.queensway.org.uk

We're also hearing some gossip about guided wildlife walks being organised in the area by QED and local conservation and wildlife groups.

We don't think this launch is going to have Kensington quaking in their boots, but with the group's closeness to Defend Lytham, they are likely to be taken seriously.

Regulars will remember that back in 'State of the Borough' in December 2007, we reported how, at the end of that meeting, a rogue (and wholly out of context) question on the need for the new road across the Moss was parachuted into the debate, and how the Commissar had leapt to the defence of poor old Kensington when the assembled focus group started to get tetchy about the loss of farming land.

Fylde's own Dear Leader said it was only by agreeing to developments like this that new roads and other infrastructure could be delivered nowadays (Mind you, when he loses money hand over fist and spends whatever is left on abortive consultancies, that's probably not such a surprising statement for him). So we know where the Commissar stands.

Then, in the spring of 2008, Kensington held their exhibition, and we were given a taste of what they had in mind. A big deer park with a lake in the middle, a site for a new school, and completion of the road across the moss were all on the positive side. On the other were 1,100 additional properties with their additional need for services like doctors and waste disposal, and extra traffic, and the loss of open space and wildlife habitat, not to mention the risk of flood plain problems.

Oh yes, they also planned to give us a new swimming pool - on the site of the present one if we wanted (but the commissar scotched that in double quick time) as well as a lump of cash to keep the present one going for a few years if we asked nicely - and gave them the planning permission they wanted.

This offer prompted one of the most unusual conversations counterbalance has had. It was just before the Parish Poll vote on keeping the pool when this particular phone call arrived with us. It came from a lady of our acquaintance who we would describe as 'true blue' (including the rinse). An active fundraiser for the local party and an avid supporter of whatever they do. Cut her through, and the section would be completely blue, with  'c o n s e r v a t i v e'  written all the way round like a stick of rock.

Cutting a long story short she wanted advice about the whys and wherefores of the Parish Poll, and when we explained its purpose (to convince the Borough Council to keep the pool open), said she wouldn't be voting to keep the swimming pool open - which surprised us, and we asked why. She said well, she didn't really agree with closing the pool, but she wouldn't risk doing anything that even *might* increase the possibility of Kensington getting planning permission at Queensway, and she thought voting to keep the pool open might do that.

Now, if a rock solid conservative voter like our friend adopts that position, imagine how much trouble the Commissar will be in when he supports the scheme as he did at that 'State of the Borough' event.

Judging by our blue rinse friend, the trouble he caused for his colleagues when he decided to close the pool could be child's play compared to the opposition we think he is likely to meet by supporting Kensington on this one.

And just as blindly unaware, or deliberately disdainful of public opinion, Kensington submitted most of their planning application to the Council in January 2008. But as yet it doesn't seem to have been 'activated'

We hear the delay may be because there is an outstanding environmental impact assessment which Kensington has yet to deliver, but given the current state of the housing market, and the prices they are likely to have paid for the land, it may be in Kensington's interest to hold back for a while.

If you want to see their plans, and the draft site layout, look on Fylde Council's website, just go to the QED website 'Links' page and follow the instructions there.

With interesting times ahead, we're curious to see what the snappily named QED has to say, so we'll go along to see what happens - to keep our readers in the picture.

We expect the arguments for and against this plan to be developed more as time goes on, (and with QED it now looks as thought we may be able to expect some credible arguments to be marshalled against the idea). So we expect to be re-visiting this topic again in the future.

Dated:  14 September 2008


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