IMPORTANT: Permanant traveller site proposed at Shenstone!

Hi Folks, 

It's been a while since my last post but this is an important one!  It has recently come to my attention that the local council is considering planning permission to turn a former paddock along Heath Lane Shenstone into a permanent site for Travelling Show People.  

The proposal is to turn a former piece of pastoral land into a travelling show people site to accomodate 8 residential caravans, 10 touring caravans and 1 static caravan along with storage of equipment and vehicles and associated access parking and drainage works.  

This is under consultation until 14th February 2013 and I have already raised my objections on the grounds of the impact that it will have on the local wildlife including Red Data species such as Corn Bunting, Grey Partridge, Skylark and Yellowhammer.  I will also be writing to the local MP and attending the residents group meetings regarding this proposal.

Please read what I have to say in my statement below and if you dis-agree with this proposal can I urge you to go to the following link to the WFDC planning application, click on the comments tab at the bottom of the page and object to the proposal.  The more people who voice their concern the more chance we have of being heard!

The Wildlife of Heath Lane (Shenstone near Kidderminster) and the impact of the proposed development of land there for use as a residential/touring caravan site for travelling show people

Over the last 6 years I have spent many hours observing and noting the wildlife on the arable land at Heath Lane, Shenstone and its surrounding Lanes.  During this period I have undertaken a number of surveys of the birdlife of the area for the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology).

Heath Lane and the nearby Butts Lane and Stanklyn Lane are important areas within Worcestershire for some of the UK’s declining farmland birds including Red data species such as Corn Bunting, Grey Partridge, Linnet, Skylark and Yellowhammer.  

The Corn Bunting is the biggest cause for concern as it is declining by huge numbers across the country.  The Shenstone area holds the biggest breeding population of these birds in Worcestershire.  With between c.60 birds present annually.

The proposed site to be used for the residential development is an area within close proximity to some of the breeding areas of Corn Buntings.  The development and the proposed vehicular access could have a catastrophic impact on this fragile population!

Corn Bunting – Shenstone

The Heath Lane area is also is also an important area for migrant birds and is annually visited by a number of scarce passage migrants that stop off to feed before resuming their respective journeys.   In 2012, the site of the proposed development was visited by both Ring Ouzel and Short-eared Owl.  Other more regular passage migrants at the site include Common Redstart, Cuckoo, Merlin, Northern Wheatear, Whinchat and Yellow Wagtail.

The areas surrounding the proposed development site have also been visited by Black Redstart, Golden Plover, Quail and Stone Curlew during migration periods over the last 6 years.  

In total 87 species of bird and 21 species of butterfly have been recorded along Heath Lane. 

Notable mammal species recorded along Heath Lane include Badger, Brown Hare, Brown Long-eared Bat and Stoat.

Again, the impact from the proposed development on the aforementioned species could be disastrous!

Jason Kernohan


  1. That sounds disastrous Jase, can your local group help by writing to these people too ?

  2. That`s crap mate. Hope the plans get blocked.

  3. Warren - Hopefully, I will certainly encorage them too

    Deano - Me too too!

  4. A 'permanent' site for 'travellers'? A contradiction in terms surely. Offer them all individual houses to live in so that they can assimilate with the locals and 'enrich' all of our lives. It's nothing short of appeasement to a minority and as we all know, appeasement never works......Try asking the local authority to build you a customised house in the countryside and see how far YOU get.

    Best of luck but you might only be re-arranging the deck-chairs on the Titanic.

    Laurie -

  5. Oh my! I would be devastated in your position Jason...I'm sure you are. I do hope enough objections will be raised to nip this in the bud before it goes any further. I actually saw a link to your blog about this on another blog (I think it was Doorstep Birding) before spotting your post on my sidebar. The first thing I thought of was the Corn Buntings!

    Hope your knee is a lot better now!

    By the way, talking of sidebars, I seem to have dropped off yours :-( Don't worry if it was intentional but I thought I would just mention it in case it was a mistake, hope you don't mind.

  6. Laurie - Cheers, I can but fight against it...I couldnt live with myself if I just buried my head in the sand and did nothing!

    Jan - Yes it's a worrying issue. went to a meeting about it yesterday with residents etc... a great turn out of c.120 people and I did an interview for the evening newspaper (Express and star) afterwards regarding the environmental impact.

    I certainly didnt intentionally remove the link Jan..I enjoy your reading blog and I'm happy to point others towards it. Will reinstate asap!

  7. Jason - If any of us can write to anyone please let us know. 10 minutes of anyones time is a must for such a beautiful area.

  8. Devastating news Jason!!! Our wildlife has enough to contend with without even more habitat being potentially destroyed! Thanks for the heads up Jason and well done you on all that you have achieved so far. I have signed and commented and will do so again in the future if need be!
    The article was in the Express & Star last night, hopefully more people will object after reading the news.
    A good idea with the Shenstone thread on Birdforum too. Do you think posting on the 'Conservation' thread will help to swell numbers objecting? Just a thought.

    Good luck to you and all involved!

  9. Have you tried contacting the BTO or RSPB to see if they can help directly? The School of Biosciences at the University of Birmingham has a strong ornithology department which could perhaps lend some support. Would be tragic to lose corn buntings and other birds in this area.

  10. Cheers Pam. Was slightly disapppointed with the E&S article as there wasnt any mention of the potential environmental impact of the proposed development

  11. Hi anon.

    Yes, the RSPB and West Midlands Bird Club are already on board and I have also contacted the Worcs Wildlife Trust.


  12. Hi Jason! Just to let you know I have advertised your appeal on the Smestow Valley blog and I am making a personal objection to the plan. let me know if you need any more help via
    Good luck with your fight!

  13. Many thanks Chris.

    I have now added your blog to my links bar.

  14. Sounds disastrous Jason, with a large part of the Worcestershire countryside already a bird desert we can't lose anymore key sites like this. I hope the conservation groups realise how urgent this is. I have commented and made my objection. Good luck! Chris L

  15. Hi Jason,

    I have posted the following objection to the proposed land use:
    I travel 20 miles in order to get just about the only guaranteed chance of seeing Corn Buntings in the Midlands. Heath Lane is at the heart of a stronghold for red and amber listed bird species: Corn Buntings - 90% national decline since 1970, Grey Partridge - 91% decline since 1970, Skylark - 58% decline since 1970, Yellowhammer 55% decline 1970, Reed Bunting - 36% decline since 1970. The fact that these species are all present at the above site is evidence that this area has an important and diverse ecology - birds are just one indicator. How stupid to jeopardise this for such a proposed land-use. In 40 years we have robbed our children of 90% of our country's wildlife, which Sir David Attenborough has warned, will destabilize our planet. Lets act responsibly, in every decision we make. Does this proposal justify such destruction???

  16. Well said Chris, a great set of facts!