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Dreams of Developers Destroyed As Campaigners Buy Pewley Down Fields

Published on: 14 May, 2021
Updated on: 17 May, 2021

Pewley Down Fields overlooking Guildford with Holy Trinity School in the foreground of the houses.

By Hugh Coakley

Guildford’s Save the Pewley Down Fields campaigners are celebrating victory, as their tidal wave of pledges drowned the dreams of developers to build on the beauty spot.

The site, part of New Warren Farm and next to the nature reserve, had been up for auction by Knight Frank at an asking price of £800,000.

They had called the sale a “once in a lifetime opportunity”, adding: “There have been hundreds of enquiries and many bids from locals and others over a wide range of interests, including a vineyard.”

Campaigners say this means “19 acres of Rosamund Meadow, 23 acres of Pewley Down Nature Reserve and 37.5 acres of Pewley Down Fields make up 80 acres of rare chalk downland are now protected for Guildford”.

See also: Campaigners Rush To Preserve Pewley Down Fields From Developers and The Story Of Pewley Down Gifted To Guildford 100 Years Ago

Backer Cllr John Redpath (R4GV, Holy Trinity), said: ” It’s fantastic news. Thanks to all your incredibly generous pledges we have managed to put in the highest offer for the fields on the north side of Pewley Down, and this has been accepted by the vendor.

Cllr John Redpath

“The bidding was fierce, with many determined bidders, including a land bank, driving up the price of the fields. In the end, we have had to offer an amount considerably over the asking price in order to secure these fields.

“Within the next few days we will supply you with documents setting out how the purchase will be structured and include instructions on how to convert your pledge into donations. Given the selling price, we will need every single one of your pledges if we are to complete the purchase.

“We are all incredibly grateful for your support and are amazed at what our community has been able to achieve in such a short time, with our lead donor, Julia Stephenson, Surrey Wildlife Trust, the Rosamund Trust, and Holy Trinity Pewley Down School.

“We are now confident this beautiful countryside will be protected in perpetuity from development, and we will be able to create an area that nurtures wildlife, offers environmental education opportunities and provides additional amenity space for the people of Guildford.”

The campaign team has released a statement, expressing deep gratitude for the volume of support, saying: “Thanks to the generosity of local people who were quick to pledge generous amounts to give us a war chest we were able to put in the highest offer.

“The bidding was very intense and went down to the wire with determined bidders, including developers, driving up the price. In the end we had to offer considerably more than the guide price.

“Within the next few days, we will be will be contacting our pledgers and sending documentation from Surrey Wildlife Trust setting out the structure of the purchase and how to convert a pledge into a donation.

“Because of the high price, we need all of our pledgers to donate so we can complete the purchase and save the fields.”

The team said donations are still flowing in and can be accepted at a dedicated page on Surrey Wildlife Trust’s website.

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test 6 Responses to Dreams of Developers Destroyed As Campaigners Buy Pewley Down Fields

  1. Susan Parker Reply

    May 14, 2021 at 2:41 pm

    Well done, John et al.

    Fantastic that this area has now been saved in perpetuity.

    Susan Parker is the GGG borough councillor for Send.

  2. Jules Cranwell Reply

    May 15, 2021 at 6:50 am

    What a fantastic result. This shows what can be achieved when residents unite to protect the countryside. Let’s hope that the so-called “strategic sites” in the now-discredited Local Plan can likewise be saved.

    It now appears that GBC used erroneous data to determine housing need, so it is the time for the council to tell developers to back off.

  3. Marilyn Strange Reply

    May 15, 2021 at 8:28 am

    Brilliant news, so pleased for the generations to come.

  4. Donna Collinson Reply

    May 16, 2021 at 3:14 pm

    So thrilled with this great result a real team effort. Well done to Cllr John Redpath, R4GV, Surrey Wildlife Trust, and all involved. Totally brilliant!

    This is really something to celebrate, and a model for others to follow.

    Walked this field to Pewley Downs and back many times, watched the children play and grow, tobogganed in the snow, and stood warmly by Holy Trinity Guy Fawkes fires,

    Now look forward to seeing increased biodiversity in the field, continued public access and activities, for all to enjoy.

  5. Donna Collinson Reply

    May 19, 2021 at 8:30 am

    Huge congratulations to The Saving Pewley Down Fields team for such an incredibly successful campaign result. Truly inspirational and a model for others to follow.

    Adding the Warren Farm fields to Pewley Downs and the Rosamund Meadow, in perpetuity, is terrific. The opportunity it presents to plant trees and increase biodiversity, thereby increasing the areas educational and public amenity value for Guildford residents and visitors alike, will be appreciated by everyone.

    I have many happy memories of walking the fields, tobogganing, and attending Holy Trinity bonfires.

  6. Susan Hibbert Reply

    May 21, 2021 at 3:49 pm

    Well done. This is brilliant news indeed.

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