Matthew shares the concern of local people about the planning application for an 18-hole golf course on Bury Farm and adjoining land. Concerns include:
· extra traffic in the area, much of which is likely to use Edgwarebury Lane, adding to the congestion which already exists in that road
· severe restrictions on public access and recreational use of the land
· dramatic alteration to the appearance of land that has been open space for hundreds of years
· damage to existing wildlife habitat and eco-systems.
Matthew is particularly worried about the effect on wildlife. In September 2010, Professor John Lawton published Making Space for Nature: A review of England’s Wildlife Sites and Ecological Network. Matthew says: "It is my belief that to subject Bury Farm and adjoining land to the manicured and heavy industrialised practices of golf course cultivation and management would be contrary to the recommendations of Professor Lawton’s report. Bury Farm is a medieval landscape and possibly one of the oldest continually existing farms in the greater London area. Its unique position on the peripheral land of suburban London forms part of the Greenbelt and, as such, is not only part of an ecological barrier between the capital and neighbouring counties, but is in fact the ‘lungs of Edgware’ – if not the Hendon constituency.
"A golf course would have a severe impact on the sustainability of the area and I cannot envisage any scenario that would mitigate the wide-ranging loss of flora, fauna and species which include bats, swifts, the Common Blue Damselfly, Yellow flag, Purple Loosestrife and Water figwort. Indeed, the management techniques of golf courses are considered to have possibly had an effect on the declining numbers of insects which help to pollinate our foods. One of the aims of the London Mayor’s Bio-Diversity Plan is 'To conserve London’s plants and animals and their habitats.' It goes on to say: 'We have a responsibility to respect local biodiversity, and to pass it on to future generations. Conservation of biodiversity is about the commonplace as well as the rare.'
"Whilst golf course development can be a means of restoring previously degraded sites such as landfills, quarries and mines, Bury Farm is none of these. It is a pristine and environmentally valuable landscape and, whatever the economic benefits in terms of jobs, I refuse to accept the wrong type of development which eats away at our natural assets. I oppose this planning application."