Silsden Campaign for the Countryside: Introducing Ourselves!
Silsden Campaign for the Countryside came into being in 2018, initially in response to a planning application for an enabling road and associated housing development on one of the town’s most cherished stretches of countryside.
Launched by just a handful of local people, the Campaign really caught the community imagination. Over 400 objections to the original application were submitted, and the community really came together to show what they thought of the proposal!
We arranged a community walk, and, despite miserable weather, over 130 people joined us of all ages. It was an encouraging event. As we walked across the threatened fields, we became a group with a common purpose, which was to highlight and protect the value of our countryside to the community.
From there, we arranged a coffee day and community photographic competition which was based on the theme of the local environment. This really helped to spread the word about what we were doing. It raised awareness, but the photography also helped to provide a visual example of the natural features at risk, and the inspiration that the local community took from the countryside around them.
Members of the campaign were delighted when the planning application was refused – but the group stays vigilant. It is only a matter of time before we will face more challenges to our countryside. The land in question – fields rich in trees, hedgerows and bird-life, criss-crossed by many footpaths, in an area stretching from Brown Bank through Hawber Cote to Drabble House – may be hugely popular among walkers but it remains vulnerable as ‘reserved land’ under the current Urban Development Plan.
There is also a large allotment site there, whose origins go back to World War 1, and this is also potentially at risk from future attempts to develop the land.
After a short well-earned break, the campaigners came together again this winter, turning ourselves into a fully constituted group, committed to a wider remit of countryside, wildlife and bio-diversity protection and the promotion of the community’s enjoyment and appreciation of our local landscape.