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Greens in the thick of the campaign to save Betteshanger’s rare wildlife  

Campaigners of Dover and Deal Green Party have been working to protect wildlife at Betteshanger supporting the community group Friends of Betteshanger (FB) since 2020.

In 2022 after the opening of the Kent Mining museum, applications were put in to take over key sections of the site to the east of the A258 roundabout at Betteshanger Country Park  (ex cycling centre Fowlmead) and put in a surf lagoon (planning application 22/01158) and a five star hotel (planning application 22/01152).

Pete Findley, the Green district council candidate in the ward where the site is says "We fully support the actions of the Friends of Betteshanger to stop development of this wildlife haven. A water park and an hotel will use vast amounts of precious water from our taps, pump even more into the already strained sewage system, take business away from Deal and Dover, clog up our roads even more than they are already and destroy many acres of nationally important land for wildlife, particularly orchids.” Dover District Council has already approved the housing development at Sholden and Betteshanger Grove and they must now make amends and refuse this latest development".

friends Betteshanger & Pete

The evidence of the natural value has piled up. Joshua Styles, botanist made a strong case that the site meets selection criteria for SSSI – Site of Special Scientific Interest – protected by Natural England). Ecologists of Kent-wide & national reputation have objected on the DDC planning portal (22/01158 surf lagoon & 22/01152 5* hotel). Professor of Conservation Biology, Ian Swingland, has worked on the site, and he too objects strongly. Objections have also been made by local RSPB, Kent Wildlife Trust, Buglife, Plantlife, Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory and CPRE (Council for the Protection of Rural England) Kent after they did their own appraisals.   The evidence is that the mosaic habitat is home to red listed endangered species including lizard orchids, poly grass and turtle doves as well as many other bats, birds, mammals (including beaver), reptiles (including rehomed common lizards), unusual insects, lichens, fungi and other flora and fauna.

Background information about the site and instructions on how to use the Dover district council planning portal to object, are both on the website of the community campaign group . They are on facebook and tweet from Save Betteshanger Park . The good news is the campaign is now attracting real media attention including support from BBC Spring Watch presenters

We Greens emailed to hundreds of people in early Dec 2022 on how to object; we objected on the planning portal and we told DDC planning department and the Planning inspectorate that the Local Plan would be 'unsound' if Betteshanger Park were not protected as a Local Green Space & Biodiversity Opportunity Area. We included a call to defend Betteshanger in thousands of our locally delivered newsletters. We’ve also emailed our contacts at ITV Meridian and the Guardian suggesting they pick it up as national story.

There are over 800 local, non-party political campaigners working together to record the wildlife and protect this well-loved wildlife habitat.  We urge those who value our endangered species to OBJECT on the DDC planning portal and to sign and share the petition.