THE proposed development of 1-2,000 houses on Middlewick Ranges (‘the Wick’) still hangs over us all, but I suppose we should be grateful that its wide open spaces have still been available during the pandemic.

Used for military training since 1857, the Wick has escaped the impacts from pesticides, fertilisers, re-seeding and other industrial farming techniques that have devastated UK grassland since, making it a rare and extensive habitat area that supports skylarks and nightingales, badgers and lizards and a host of butterflies and nationally rare bees, and is rightly designated a Local Wildlife Site.

Just as importantly, the Wick is a much-loved open space that has been used for recreation and exercise for generations; it serves the surrounding residential areas and beyond well, and its importance cannot be stressed highly enough.

It’s difficult to see how Colchester Council can seriously consider enabling such a development, with all of the associated problems with traffic congestion, loss of protected wildlife and priority habitats, impacts on climate chaos and biodiversity collapse, the loss of open space and its benefits for both physical and mental fitness, air quality.… there are a lot of boxes the council is obligated to tick, and it would be heading in the right direction if this was thrown out in favour retaining the site as a country park and wild space.

Richard Kilshaw