One Mans Fight…
One Mans Fight…
We are all for progress and with that change is inevitable, however at what price are we prepared for such.
A multi-million-pound re-development of Cleator Moors Leconfield industrial estate is welcomed by a majority, however, a further proposal to build on farmland to extend the project, in what is called the second phase – has many locals up in arms as the land in question is ‘Not for Sale’, says landowner Ivor Towers and he has the support of the majority.
Let’s be clear here, Cleator Moor was successful in the government’s £25 million Town Fund Bid and the Town Board overseeing the spend have allocated part of that spend to redevelop the industrial estate.
The Town Board has nothing to do with any expansion onto Greenbelt or the farm in question.
The proposed 2nd phase development at Bowthorn Park Farm (Ivor’s farm) is not a Town Fund initiative.
It is a completely separate initiative driven by ISH & Copeland Borough Council.
What the project managers at ISH call the second phase but forget to tell you, is that it is a Separate phase completely.
It’s all very ambiguous and quite simply somewhat deceptive. People have been led to believe that this is all part of The Town Fund project when it simply isn’t. It is a move to levy more funding down the line.
I spoke to Ivor to get his view on the proposals
Ivor is a quiet man, a gentleman who was born and bred on the very land that Copeland BC are in the process of trying to compulsory purchase.
That said, this quiet fella isn’t going down without a fight.
The proposal is to take his 32 Acres and develop it.
To be fair CBC has offered Ivor alternative land and cash.
However he does not want to sell, he’s not bothered about the money. This all stems from similarities by the coal-board who came in and took his grandparent’s farm back in the day, ironically the same land.
Ivor grew up in a farmhouse not 500 yards from his farm.
I caught up with him to hear what he had to say and also to take in the views – which are spectacular by the way – and of course to feed his sheep.
Ivor said “This land was part of Bowthorn Farm and is where I was born – it was in my family for three generations. That is until back in the 80’s the Coal Board came along and under quite a lot of duress, pressurised my grandparents into selling up for future open cast mines.
My grandparents were told that if they didn’t sell up they would put it through a compulsory purchase order.
I managed to buy back this part of the once 300-acre farm 16 years ago.
I’ve farmed here for the last 16 years, it’s not a high-intensity farm, it’s a small 32-acre site which I have farmed with sheep and occasionally cattle. But also I have a strong interest in wildlife, there are deer on the land, rare birds, barn owls.
It makes my day to see the wildlife flourish here alongside my sheep grazing.
It’s not about the money – it’s about that this is a lovely part of Cleator Moor.
I was approached last year by Copeland BC and in a space of a few months they went from asking me if I would be interested in selling to telling me that they would take it down a compulsory purchase order. It’s almost as if history is repeating itself.”
A meeting was held, offers were made, yet Ivor insists his land is not for sale under any circumstances.
What are your views on the proposed redevelopment of the Leconfield Industrial Estate?
“I, like 99% of the local people, think if the dilapidated, rundown Leconfield industrial estate can be improved and money spent sensibly and wisely, it has great potential to be a great benefit to Cleator Moor and the local area.
My Land is not for sale for two reasons: First of all, I don’t want to sell my farm and secondly – it would be disastrous in bringing heavy goods wagons up through Bowthorn.
I don’t live here but it’s like my home, I’m so attached to it.
I was born here and have put so much into this land.
I’ve planted thousands of trees – hedging plants, and made so many improvements to this land putting thousands of meters of fencing up over the last 16 years. Knocking posts in by hand, netting, gates, the list is endless.
You get so attached to the land and put so much into it it becomes part of your very fabric.
I really can’t thank the people of Cleator Moor enough for all the support, it’s been uplifting”
Have your say go to copeland website https://www.copeland.gov.uk/cmiq
ISH are holding a Community Launch Event at Cleator Moor Civic Hall on March 25th between 11am- 2pm
You can find Ivors campaign on facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/930975244178587