England’s Green & Pleasant Land
This is a photograph of the old US Airbase at Greenham Common, near Newbury, taken a couple of weeks ago. The airbase was closed in 1993, and it has since been “returned to common land.” Apparently. Despite the hype which went with the campaign, you can see that it still bears more resemblance to an airbase than it does to anything else.
Meanwhile, nearby Thatcham and Coldash have swelled in size as new housing has been built. I believe that most of the new developments are on previously unspoilt land, and that the development of higher ground contributed to the scale of some flooding a couple of years ago. And whilst the new estates required new services and cabling, I am told that the infrastructure underpinning Greenham Common was state of the art.
The scars you can see on the landscape will continue to last, years after the politicians and councillors who curried favour with the people with the “common land” campaign have been forgotten.
It certainly gives some interesting perspective to the Greenbelt debate…