The old school field at the centre of Loddiswell has evolved in to a meadow and haven for biodiversity since the primary school moved to a new location at the edge of the village in 2018. However, villagers are now in a race against time to save their last green space. Devon County Council, who own the site, is now putting the land up for sale with a pre planning application for 10 houses, which has already been discussed with South Hams District Council.
Villagers have argued that the site should not be used for housing as there have been numerous new residential developments in the area in recent years. They say preserving the green space is now more important. The community group, Wild about Loddiswell, which works on projects to enhance the biodiversity in and around the village for the enjoyment of the community, has set up a petition to save the site.
The petition states that the village does not need additional houses and there is already too much pressure on road and sewage infrastructure. It says the village would prefer to plant a community orchard in the space and create a nature reserve to benefit the health and wellbeing of local residents.
Liz Montague of Wild about Loddiswell said: "Over the last five years the old school field has evolved into a tussocky meadow, which is a great habitat for voles and other small mammals and an ideal hunting ground for barn owls - one of which has been seen hunting there.
"It also has a rich diversity of plants and is home to dormice, hedgehogs and slow worms. Greater and lesser horseshoe and barbastelle bats have been recorded foraging there too. "
Lee Bonham, the Lib Dem candidate for Loddiswell and Aveton Gifford in the upcoming local elections said: “Wild about Loddiswell would like the old school field turned into an orchard or space for nature. But it seems that Devon County Council, who own the land, plan to sell it as a site for ten houses.
"I agree with local residents that keeping the field as a green space for the village and creating a peaceful nature reserve could be beneficial.
" I would hope that the wishes of the village and the parish council could be taken into account. Perhaps the village could be given the option of buying the land.”
The petition can be signed at the village shop or via the following website: https://tinyurl.com/2s3pahe7