On Wednesday the Woods under Threat team received some really good news – that the Planning Inspector and Secretary of State had seen fit to dismiss a planning appeal that we had been working on. Our efforts to save Lake Wood have paid off! I can’t begin to describe the relief that was felt by all involved.
The appeal was originally lodged by developers as a result of Wealden District Council refusing planning permission for a large housing development, and was heard through a Local Public Inquiry. The proposed site for development was adjacent to ancient woodland and also happened to include Lake Wood which is owned by the Woodland Trust. Find out more about what we did during our campaign here.
On further investigation into the Inspector’s report, which details the reasoning behind the appeal decision, it is pleasing to see that the damage to ancient woodland has been reasonably well recognised. All too often we find that the very real impacts of development on ancient woodland are overlooked, having this recognition is extremely important in our fight to prevent further loss of ancient woodland. Happily the Inspector understood the potential for indirect impacts to degrade ancient woodland, threatening its ecological value. This is an excellent result and should set some good precedents.
I have to say that the victory was largely as a result of some great team working – we would not have had the same impact without the support of the local community group (Downlands Action Group) who gave up large amounts of their time to be involved in the Public Inquiry. Read about their experiences in their own words here.
Although it can be daunting being involved in Public Inquiries, this result shows what can be achieved and that it really is worth fighting to save your local woodland.
Is your local woodland under threat? Visit WoodWatch and pick up some campaigning ideas!