A PETITION to stop a housing development being built near an ancient woodland is now online.

Members of the Protecting Pershore’s Woodland Group have launched an e-petition on Wychavon District Council’s website to formally request that the proposal to build 450 houses in the fields adjoining Tiddesley Wood are withdrawn from the South Worcestershire Development Plan.

This follows on from 8 weeks of active campaigning during the consultation period in November which saw two peaceful protests of nearly 300 people held both at the Civic Centre and the SWDP exhibition.

A record number of local residents turned out on November 13 to see the SWDP plans with a further 250 crowded into the library on November 19. Now residents are asking Wychavon to remove the land at Orchard Farm off Defford Road to protect the SSSI ancient woodland and its wildlife. Tiddesley Wood was formed after the last Ice Age and is over 6000 years old. It is home to the rare Noble Chafer Beetle, Horseshoe bats and many other protected wildlife.

The Town Council voted unanimously in November to reject the proposal and the Facebook group has over 1500 active members. So far, 1103 signatures have been obtained online with just 897 more needed to ensure that Wychavon District Council debate the issue.

Newly re-elected MP Harriett Baldwin, herself a member of Worcestershire Wildlife Trust who own the Woodland, is also supporting the petition. She said:

“ I encourage as many people as possible to sign the Wychavon e-petition to illustrate the strength of feeling on this issue. I have written myself and have spoken to the Leader of Wychavon as well on behalf of all my constituents who have written to me with their grave concerns.”

Former Chairman of Wychavon District Council and fellow campaigner Councillor Val Wood said: “I am delighted to see that our Member of Parliament is fully behind our protests at the potential desecration our ancient woodland and adjoining fields. I have yet to meet anyone who is in favour of it! I urge everyone to help us stop this ludicrous proposal and help us to preserve our 6000 year old woodland and protect its wildlife. Climate crisis is real and we need to act now by holding Westminster to their election promises and doing all we can to save our environment.”

The petition can be found at www.wychavon.gov.uk/consultations