Is it the end of the British countryside?
I remember when there was a lot of free space between my home town and the neighbouring one. Now, so many towns have started to merge, with villages in between growing closer together and lovely areas of countryside being swallowed up. It makes me so sad to drive from one place to another and not see any true open spaces in between.
In Peterborough, there are still lovely, tranquil places, hidden amongst the city sprawl. For example, the rowing lakes and open ground at Ferry Meadows are snuggled away between busy estates but when you visit these havens you can easily forget that you are inside a growing city. Sadly, the city still grows, in such a way that neighbouring villages are connecting and almost bursting at their seams.
Do we really need to merge everything?
All of this growing outwards is fine but surely we need to think more creatively about how we are going to develop our urban areas. Can we find ways to increase housing without simply expanding city limits and widening villages? I can’t bear the thought of a future where we travel from town to town, without seeing natural habitats and open fields. We need that access to fresh air and green hills. Nature deserves space to breathe. Let’s stop encroaching and be more creative. If we have to build up instead of outwards, then so be it. There must be many ways we can be environmentally friendly and coexist with the natural world, without simply trampling over land and extending the concrete jungle. Fingers crossed the government looks at reinstating the green belts and taking actions to protect our green hills and vibrant forests.