Answers generally indicate a great fondness for and awareness of Wivenhoe’s rural environment and setting, and a belief that it must be protected and managed in a variety of ways. There are also a number of signs of the stresses caused by conflicting uses and pressure on resources, and fears for the future loss of this environment.
When asked about which open areas are most important, of the 969 answers (from 543 people), 297 talked about how highly they value the riverside and marshes, both up and down river, the Ferry Marsh and the salt water marshes were specifically mentioned. Wivenhoe Woods and the KGV were identified by 223 people as extremely valued recreation and wildlife resources. 147 people said generally that all the existing green space in Wivenhoe means to so much to them that it should be left untouched; some mention keeping arable land, others heath or wild land. Downriver views from Ballast Quay were talked about, the Lafarge workings (frequently called ‘the lakes’), and all 71 mentions were made of “all the green spaces within the built up area of Wivenhoe”.
Set against this there is also a minority, perhaps pragmatic, view that some development could and should be accommodated with sufficient safeguards. Others would also like to see more management and creation of infrastructure that would offer recreation and community use, and make the surrounding area more accessible for popular pursuits.
493 people said the river is very important to them, and 270 said it was important. 103 said it had no importance for them. It seemed that this question allowed people to talk about why they care so much about Wivenhoe; when talking about why the river is important to them, comments from 691 people showed a real love for everything the river, and Wivenhoe, has had to offer in the past and offers today. There was only one negative comment about it.
132 people were keen that the riverside should be maintained as it is and not exploited or changed for alternative uses. Support for community action in removing washed-up rubbish was expressed. There were a further number who specifically mentioned dredging, maintenance, and conserving the natural habitat. Set against this, 67 would like to see a public hard to increase community access to the river while 46 talked about having a café, pleasure boats, boat hire, picnic areas, seating and signs & information.
There are 153 requests to cut back vegetation, improve surfacing on dual use routes and to do something about the deterioration on main routes in winter months. 67 people requested additional paths in various locations, such as the Woods, and the Jack Hatch Way to University route, including mobility access.
Planting and Landscaping
Most people are keen for more planting and greater diversity within the built up spaces (61) and open green areas (61) of Wivenhoe. Many (42) are happy about the current state of planting and landscaping in Wivenhoe. There were several comments in praise of ‘Wivenhoe in Bloom’.
There is a very high level of enthusiasm (111 people) for encouraging wildlife and wildlife habitat although rather fewer people have specific proposals or suggestions. 56 people want things left as they are with no interference with the natural habitat. People are generally keen to conserve natural habitats and to encourage the use of all the local expertise we enjoy here.