11th August. Chinese Whispers


If you've got more time on your hands write to the leader of Rotherham Council and make your feelings known leader@rotherham.gov.uk

Chinese Theme Park Threatens Pit-house West

As reported several weeks back plans are afoot for the development of a Chinese Theme park on the Pit-house West site adjacent to Rother Valley Country Park. Most local birders will be aware of the history of Pit-house West (PHW) that after several years of opencast it was sympathetically landscaped in preparation for it being absorbed into the adjacent country park.

Looking south towards the Chinese Bridge (ironic that we call it that!)Looking west towards the 'Bittern' Pool from the extensive gorse bank

For over a decade the site began to mature alongside the existing water courses and woodland. A reedbed steadily grew and within a several years attracted its first wintering Bittern albeit a rather elusive individual. At least one Bittern has wintered there for the last nine winters usually arriving in September and departing in mid March.

Birds are the main attraction at this site with notable records over the years including the first record of Cetti's Warbler in the Sheffield area, Firecrest, Bearded Tit, Hobby, Woodcock, 3 species of Owl, 3 species of Woodpecker and Woodlark. There are several birds featured on the RSPB's Red List that breed at PHW namely Grey Partridge, Lapwing, Cuckoo, Skylark, Song Thrush, Grasshopper Warbler, Willow Tit, Linnet, Lesser Redpoll and Yellowhammer, any kind of development would have an adverse affect on these.

There's plenty of other wildlife with a good population of Grass Snakes, Smooth Newt, Common Frog, Pygmy Shrew, Common Shrew, Water Shrew, Brown Hare, Stoat, Weasel, Badger and Fox (these are just the ones that I've found).

All the above pictures have been taken at Pit-house West over the last few years. RMBC are desperate to offload the site because they can't afford to maintain the public footpaths, fences and basically look after the site - a site that was given to them by British Coal, who presumably as part of a deal to extract the coal were required to restore the land.

Is it too much to ask that Pit-house West remains as public-open space not just for birders but for everyone? Do we really need a Chinese Theme Park in Rotherham? Do we really need 380 more minimum wage jobs? The Rother Valley had over a hundred years of heavy industry and heavy pollution, industries that created real jobs and communities around them. What's there now is a legacy of those industries. Actually it's not a legacy it's a thank you, a thank you for those years that we took from the land. To put it back to what it is today is an achievement to take that away would be a bloody disgrace.

Please take a moment to sign the petition. If you've got more time on your hands write to the leader of Rotherham Council and make your feelings known leader@rotherham.gov.uk


Saul said...

Lets hope this monstrous carbuncle doesn't get planning permission. A waste of money and destruction of a valuable habitat. Terrible.

Rachel said...

Your just wasting your time protesting against the theme park, the land has already been brought and has got permission to build a family theme park. Its a good thing that 580 plus jobs are going to be created by the theme park when it opens and can't you just move the plants and animals to another place? its been done before!! I for one like many others can't wait for the theme park to be built and opened, Rotherham needs a theme park for at the moment its a dump! jobs are better than no jobs right? this reminds me of Alton Towers near Staffordshire, there was a big uproar about it being built on land just like the one the Chinese park is going to be built on, oh they protested here and there but the theme park was still built!!! you are losing the battle,don't fight it and who knows you may like the park when its built.

Mark said...

Just to address a few points that you have raised Rachel:
The land has not been bought (or brought even)it is still owned by RMBC.

Planning permission has not been granted - they have yet to formally submit a full application. The site has only outline planning permission for a 'leisure facility'.

Move the plants and animals? I think the example you are looking for was the relocation of a colony of Great-crested Newts. Unfortunately birds have wings and will choose their favoured habitat by flying to it! Of course we could put all animals in zoos, then we could all go and visit them -that's a great idea for more jobs!

I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for the Chinese Theme Park, RMBC have a great track for hair-brained schemes that never happen..

P.S judging by your high standard of English, you're no doubt eagerly awaiting this project and the jobs it will bring. But don't forget to always ask... "Do you want fries with that?" ;-)