BUSHFIELD Camp has been gently rotting and returning to nature for the best part of 50 years. The former army barracks south of Badger Farm was vacated by the Ministry of Defence in the 1970s. Those with long memories will recall that Tesco made serious efforts to build a superstore there before switching to Easton Lane in the 1990s.

The landowner, the Church Commissioners, has always harboured ambitions to develop at least part of the site where the buildings stood. In recent months they have been consulting the public over ideas for the land including a business park and also student accommodation and/or a hotel. Most of the site would be retained as chalk downland.

READ MORE HERE: Parish council raises concerns about plans for Bushfield Camp

Public concerns are growing about the scale of the plans with dozens attending a parish council meeting in Badger Farm on Monday evening. But make no mistake, Bushfield Camp is almost certain to be developed. The city council around a decade ago earmarked it in the Local Plan as a site for a business park. The Chronicle reported on this at the time but there was little public interest. Designating land for future development at some point in the future in a planning document is too vague for most people to get excited about. Now the planning application is being prepared for the autumn and the public will soon see exactly what is proposed. The problem is that by the time the crunch decision is made over exactly what is to be built it will be too late to fight the principle that the site will be developed.