This sorry tale rumbles on, albeit in first gear during covid restrictions. The City Council applied to the Countryside Charity CPRE (Kent) for a further delay to the judicial review into the park and ride extension. This is due in part to Highways England still not having decided whether the proposed layout of the off-slip road through the existing park and ride area is acceptable. Numerous ramifications from the viral outbreak also mean that the council is now very short of money, and all major projects are currently on hold. As the council originally intended approving the plan at the end of last year, it does seem a trifle odd that this should have been contemplated before receiving approval from Highways England. CPRE have granted the council a six-month extension, expiring on 28th February 2021.

Meanwhile, the meadow at the centre of the battle has been mown yet again, not so severely as on previous occasions, but destroying the fine spread of bird’s foot trefoil that figured in last month’s newsletter. The mower operator carefully manoeuvred his machine even closer to the pond than last time, so the thin sliver of semi-natural grassland flora that also featured in the June newsletter has been obliterated. In view of this blitzing of the carpet of flowering plants, now seems a supremely apposite moment to encourage the council to adopt a pollinator action plan which would ensure the survival of more bees in our district through the provision of a far greater number of flowery meadows, parks and road verges. Self-interest is involved, as we need bees to fertilise so many of our crops.