Controversial plans to build a temporary access road across Beverley Westwood seem dead in the water after The Pasture Masters unanimously rejected the idea during a meeting on Wednesday.
Developers, The Livesey Group, who are developing the Beverley Westwood Hopsital site were keen to build the road across the Westwood to enable easier access, but campaigners have been vocal in criticising the idea.
Opposition came to a head this week when thousands turned to an online petition to plead with the Pasture Masters to reject the idea.
The petition on the website 38 Degrees, was started on Sunday afternoon and quickly gathered momentum with over 6,000 people signing by Wednesday when it was submitted to the Pasture Masters. The petition called on the access road plan to be stopped saying Commons Legislation, prohibits encroachment onto the historic site, however temporary, for commercial reasons.
Alan English, chair of the Pasture Masters, said: “A few years ago another developer came to us wanting to put in an access road and we said no to that and we saw no reason to change our stance now.
“It’s not in our interests to allow something like this, it would be detrimental to the Westwood and it just wouldn’t be right.I was surprised to see how many people sign the petition against the idea but it made us feel better knowing that we had that level of support from the people of Beverley and further afield.”
Campaigners said that allowing the developers of the hospital to build the road would set a dangerous precedent, that could be used by developers of other nearby sites.
They said that if this access was granted it would be unlikely ever to be removed and would damage the Westwood and its environment.
Beate Willar, who started the petition, said: “I couldn’t believe the response I got to the petition, it was brilliant. I walk on the Westwood and everyone I’ve spoken to says the idea is ridiculous. The Westwood belongs to the people of Beverley, the job of the Pasture Masters is to look after it on our behalf, building this road would damage the soil and the hedges and it will never grow back to the same quality within our lifetimes.
“Our main concern is the dangerous precedent it would set, developers would find it much easier to gain access from the Westwood and there are a lot of potential sites that could be developed.”
The support behind the petition on 38 Degrees dwarfed that of a rival petition on the website change.org calling for people to accept the idea of an access road. That petition, set up by the Westwood Hospital Action group, has so far been signed by a mere 38 people.
Both petitions were submitted to the Pasture Masters during the meeting on Wednesday.