Hundreds of supporters of a campaign to save a Kettering woodland from developers gathered to voice and sing their protest against the plans at a summer gathering in Rockingham Pleasure Park.
The Save Weekley Hall Wood Pleasure Park Community Festival was held to highlight the plans by Buccleuch Property (Kettering) Ltd for five warehouses and an industrial unit on the land north of Kettering's Weekley Wood Lane.
Community stalls representing a variety of town groups were on hand for guests as well as food and refreshment, with musical acts entertaining the crowd, all in aid of the Save Weekley Hall Wood group.
North Northants and Kettering Town Council member Cllr Dez Dell (Green) said: “We are so pleased our first community festival was such a success. There was an amazing atmosphere and it was great to see so many people out together enjoying the vibes. The crowd were there to support Save Weekley Hall Wood, which shows how much the community is invested in protecting the area.”
The event was organised by Tom Siddington, who as Tom Oi performed his ‘Save Weekley Hall Wood' theme song to get the audience dancing.
Stevie Jones & The Wildfires, Keiron Farrow, The Fed Sisters, Stevie Lawless, Steph Ashcroft and performance poet Loz Anstey completed the line-up.
Stalls from different organisations filled the park - The Woodland Trust, The Green Patch, NNC Grounds Team, Burton Latimer Nature Reserve, Refill Van, Kettering Labour Party, Kettering Green Party, Shire Sounds, Youth Works, Noah’s SDR Journey, and Mandy McQueenie’s dried flowers. Food was provided by the Wood Fired Oven pizzas
Plans show part of Weekley Hall Wood - an area loved by many for walking, running and off-road cycling - would be destroyed in the process. In total more than 40,000 sq m - nearly 10 acres or the size of five football pitches - of woodland is planned for removal.
John Padwick from the Save Weekley Hall Wood group gave a speech delivering his “Wildlife not warehouses” and “Woodland not warehouses” messages.
He said: “It was an amazing event and we were delighted that so many people came along and shared our concerns about keeping the woodland and wildflower meadow. The Climate Emergency which North Northamptonshire Council has declared just makes it even more essential not to build more warehousing on our green open spaces.”
Stevie Jones, who headlined the festival, said: “Bizarrely it turns out 35 years ago to the day I attended a festival at the Pleasure Park by the then newly-formed Kettering Music Collective and that event was a real catalyst for change and positivity for musicians and young people in the town.
"Equally I’m hoping the Save Weekly Hall Wood event has kick-started a new era of positive togetherness in standing up to defend an area of outstanding natural beauty, so important to so many peoples’ wellbeing in the local community. It was an absolute pleasure to be involved in helping spread the word and be part of such a great day.”
For more information on the campaign please click here.