Cornwall village campaigns to save wildlife haven from future development

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A village in South East Cornwall is trying to crowdfund £50,000 in the space of a week to save a wildlife haven from any future development.

The four acres of wetland and woodland on the seafront at Seaton is going up for auction next week but campaigners want it to be preserved as a public green space.

The parish council and local supporters only have a week to crowdfund enough money to buy it - and so far they are around £30,000 short.

Mark Gibbons from Deviock Parish Council said: "As a small rural parish council without a huge amount of funding available to us, we decided the best course of action was to involve the public.

"Our aim at the end of the day is to ensure the public have a say in what happens to this plot, we're in an environment in Cornwall, we share a problem that a lot of other Cornish villages suffer with which is a lot of development and interest in land.

"So when a plot this size of wildlife woodland became available, we decided we would do everything we could to raise the funds to compete at auction.''

Ecological Consultant Paddy Saunders says the land has great environmental importance. He said: "It is small, it's only four acres, but within that small patch there's a range of quite open undisturbed habitats and because it's had very little management they've developed important and rich communities."

Laura Done is chair of the local residents association which wants the community to be able to access the land. She said: "We are concerned that the land is not put on the market for potential speculative investment that's not what it should be.

"It should be a green space enjoyed by the community - a community of really concerned and active residents but also an awful lot of tourists."

Cornwall Council owns the Countryside Park which borders the 2 plots for auction. It says the land for sale has some protections doesn't rule out future development.

Auctioneers estimate the lots could fetch up to £80,000. Credit: ITV News

Councillor Armand Toms said: "The land in question has a number of designations on it.

"If people wanted to remove trees or such like that they've got tree preservation orders on them, the land has an environmental designation and all these factors would need to be considered very carefully during any planning process."

Auctioneers estimate the two lots could fetch up to £80,000 on November 4. Campaigners hope to at least be able to secure one of them - if they reach their funding target.