Countryside supporters urged to join Chesterton Windmill campaign

Chesterton Windmill
Chesterton Windmill

Hundreds of countryside supporters are being urged to back a campaign to save the setting of Chesterton Windmill.

The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England this week contacted its 1,000 Warwickshire members, highlighting the threat to the 380-year-old Grade I-listed monument’s backdrop from a plan to build 3,000 homes at nearby Gaydon/Lighthorne Heath.

Around 1,800 people have already signed an e-petition calling on the Government to do everything in its power to save Chesterton Windmill.

In an email, the CPRE branch’s hon. membership secretary Alan Palmer wrote: “The proposed new town of up to 3,000 houses at Gaydon, Lighthorne and Lighthorne Heath will be on high land between Lighthorne Heath and the M40, which is itself shielded in cuttings. It will have a very damaging effect on the setting of Chesterton Windmill, a Grade I-listed building.

“Today Chesterton Windmill has a rural outlook over open fields and woods in all directions. But under Stratford District Council’s Local Plan as published, the attractive rolling countryside which extends to the southern horizon and forms the backdrop to the windmill will be covered with new houses, and this wholly rural outlook lost forever.

The windmill and its surrounding landscape setting are inseparably linked.

Petition author, retired local Government officer Peter Reading, from Lighthorne, said: “We warmly welcome the CPRE’s intervention and support. Chesterton Windmill is a building of national significance and I shall be asking them to contact their 41,000 members nationwide, drawing their attention to this threat to the Windmill’s environment and asking them, too, to sign the e-petition and register their concern.

“Support for the petition is growing steadily and we are encouraged by this latest development.”

The plan for a 3,000 dwelling new town on the greenfield site next to the M40 motorway has been incorporated in Stratford District Council’s Core Strategy despite fierce opposition from nearby villagers in Chesterton, Lighthorne, Lighthorne Heath and Gaydon. It was submitted to the Government last month (September) and will be scrutinised by a Government planning inspector.