Campaigners ask Prince Charles for help with field

Andrew Hinchley, chairman of the Bury Water Meadows Group and the view he hopes Prince Charles will help save
Andrew Hinchley, chairman of the Bury Water Meadows Group and the view he hopes Prince Charles will help save

Prince Charles is being asked to help save a meadow within walking distance of Bury St Edmunds’ town centre.

The Bury Water Meadows Group is writing to the prince suggesting the Leg of Mutton field should be part of the Prince’s Coronation Meadows initiative announced last week.

Under the Prince’s plan, existing meadows that are particularly rich in grasses and wildflowers, including Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Martins’ Meadow near Monewden, will contribute seed to establish new Coronation Meadows.

The Bury Water Meadows Group believe the Leg of Mutton, on the corner of the A14 and Rougham Road, is a suitable location for a new traditional meadow.

Will Cranstoun, Suffolk Wildlife Trust western reserves manager and an adviser to the Bury Water Meadows Group, said: “I have every confidence that the Leg of Mutton could benefit from the Coronation Meadows initiative.

“The site could indeed be transformed over time to a species rich wildflower meadow bordered by thick hedgerows and scrub, including some woodland pasture.”

He added ”With the establishment of a suitable circular footpath the site could also offer life long learning and recreation for the local community for years to come.”

The group believe the Prince will be particularly interested in this project, as it preserves the unique views to historic Bury St Edmunds including the cathedral.

The prince gave a great deal of support to the project to add the Millennium Tower to the cathedral.

Alan Jary, who represents the Bury Society on the Water Meadows Group, said: “Great progress has been made recently through St Edmundsbury [Borough Council] withdrawing the hotel proposal for this land.

“To create something like this so close to a town centre is a unique opportunity. There is still much to be done to ensure this land is protected.”

The meadow was originally marked in the council’s Vision 2031 plan for Bury as a site for a hotel and leisure use.

That was dropped, but the current Vision 2031 plan still proposes to develop the land for games pitches and associated club houses, leisure facilities and parking.

The 18.25 hectare meadow is currently agricultural land and has a footpath running along its southern edge, beside the River Lark, linking the Abbey Gardens with Rougham Road.