Throckmorton doesn't want it: The Ministry wants it both ways.

The burial site at Throckmorton has been a thorn in the side of the villagers ever since the hundreds of lorries stuffed with dead animal carcasses began trundling past their homes in April.

These people who live on the doorstep of the burial site feel that their views have been ignored - not just by Maff/Defra - but for the past decade. They had to suffer a huge expansion of the landfill site at Hill and Moor, then an intensive chicken farm was thrust on them against their wishes, then an HGV depot, and now a mass burial ground for culled animals being shipped in from all over Worcestershire and counties further afield..

The inhabitants of this once pretty little Worcestershire village, now with no shop or school or regular bus service, feel resentful and disempowered. The village, which has about 180 residents, is divided by an old airstrip which became the MOD site now used to dispose of the bodies of the animals killed by Defra.

The huge increase in heavy HGV traffic along a narrow country road with no pavements adds to the misery. Now the cull lorries come too pasing the bus stop where children wait to go to school..

The villagers are used to fighting and to defeat. Parish Council fought against the imposition of the HGV depot in 1989. Villagers raised #11,000 to fund a judicial review but their efforts were in vain and the plans went ahead in May 1990. In October 1991 they fought a planning application for an intensive chicken farm all the way to the European Courts. This time they seemed to have gained the victory. But the decision was overturned by a High Court action and the chicken farm was forced on them. The burial site seems the last straw.

Now the angry people are being reassured by Maff/Defra that the carcasses of "only healthy animals" are being buried at the site.

Yet the constant cry of the government spokesmen such as Margaret Beckett, in exasperated reply to the disquiet that so many healthy animals are being killed, is -" The animals involved in the cull policy on contiguous farms (those adjacent to infected farms) cannot be considered as "healthy". In fact, due to the high concentration of the disease many of these animals may already be incubating FMD. So in order to combat the disease our strategy remains focused on a slaughter policy which the government stresses is absolutely necessary"

Well which is it? Either the villagers of Throckmorton are being cynically lied to yet again and the animals were likely to have been carrying disease - or these 120,000 beasts ending up at Throckmorton died healthy for reasons of political or economic expediency. Either way it is a sad reflection on Britain in 2001.

And in 2002

Throckmorton's nightmare of last year is continuing.

The decision to build a refugee camp is yet another decision made in the face of increasingly despairing opposition from the village

Ann writes, " Thought I would just mention that there are not 3, 000 people in Throckmorton. The petition was signed by all the surrounding villages too.
Living in this quiet rural hamlet with approx 22 houses is becoming a nightmare. About 7 of the houses are now on the market. The lane is being dug up to put in a new sewer - meaning a drive of about 4 miles in the opposite direction to get onto the road into town.

People feel pretty resigned to the fact that we will have little say in what happens here and the village community will change radically as so many people up and leave at the same time assuming they can sell their houses which may prove difficult. I have no particular objection to the new camp but the area is not equipped to deal with so many new people and we the villagers seem to be totally disregarded when any of these plans are made. To get my daughter to college involved a 5 mile drive to a bus for 8.00am and then she had a 10 mile journey by bus and the older residents here who cannot drive can get to the local town once a week for 2 hrs. So its not difficult to see why there is such resentment at the proposed expenditure on this camp. Besides that it seems crazy to situate it next to the burial site which will have to be monitored for the next 10 years at least and they don t know the consequences of burying so many animals in one place yet

We again have found out from the press and TV what's going on. The people here were expecting to have an enquiry first into the suitability of the site.

We already have a landfill site, the burial site and intensive chicken farm which was bitterly fought until the money ran out. They then resited a lorry firm on the airfield when they wanted the land for something else and just recently we have had to fight the storage of cars on the airfield. It just said on the news that there is an element of NIMBY to our objections which again just ignores what we have had to put up with here and makes it seem like we are just complaining about refugees. But how many people would want to live with a landfill site on one side, a burial site on the other and opposite a chicken farm? But that is where they plan to put this refugee centre.

I was totally opposed to the mass murder of the animals during foot and mouth - which was a year of hell here - and before we have recovered from that they drop this on us.

I was speaking to a lady this morning whose house sale fell through because of the burial site and she is due to sell again on thursday and now fears the people will drop out again. There is a lot of anger in these rural villages at the moment but also a feeling of helplessness about what happens here.

It seems the writing is on the wall for this village.

As a matter of interest the villages that are being shown on the news are not Throckmorton. They cant get to us because of the roadworks and probably because its so small they cant find it :)



New eco-town will ruin the area, warns parish council

PROPOSALS to build a new eco-town on an old airfield could spell the end of surrounding market towns and villages in south Worcestershire, a parish council has warned.

Bishampton and Throckmorton Parish Council said it thought the idea to build between 5,000 and 20,000 environmentally friendly' new homes on the disused former RAF base at Throckmorton "wholly inappropriate" for the area.

In a letter to the Minister for Housing Yvette Cooper, parish council chairman Don Cheetham criticised the process by which the site was nominated and added major work would have to be undertaken to provide the infrastructure needed for such a town.

"The plans would alter the local landscape and nature of the community irrevocably," he said. "They would link the ancient and distinct rural settlements of Throckmorton, Bishampton and Tilesford, into one large artificially-created urban/suburban development, on a largely greenfield, open site and have enormous impact on all neighbouring communities.

"Pershore and Evesham are the market towns which have evolved to serve this Vale of Evesham area and this new development as planned would take over as possibly even the largest town of the three, drawing away trade from the other towns, which are struggling themselves to retain their viability and vibrancy."

We previously reported in your Worcester News how Malvern-based QinetiQ, which owns sections of the airfield site, expressed an interest in the project after the Government invited landowners to put forward possible locations for eco-towns in the summer.

Although QinetiQ has denied any details have been drawn up, coun Cheetham said privately nominating the site - which was used to bury 130,000 animals culled to control the outbreak of foot-and-mouth outbreak of 2001 - without any public consultation made a mockery of the planning system.

"While the Government's plan to be more eco-friendly in its development plans is to be applauded, this council is of the opinion that this is not the place to carry out the experiment and this parish and community will most strongly oppose the destruction of its villages," he said.

A decision on whether Throckmorton airfield will be developed into an eco-town will be made early next year. Other locations in the West Midlands, including a site at Long Marston, are also in the running.

It is not the first time the Government has shown interest in the airfield after it was controversially cited as a potential location for an asylum centre in 2002.

Worcester News Dec 28 2007

By David Paine