Woodland plans spark wave of local objections

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An award-winning woodland venue in Hadlow Down has lodged plans with Council planners to build 13 cabins, workshop, teaching room and offices.

Owners of Wilderness Wood say the scheme will ‘support and develop existing operations at an established site which offers unique and important facilities to the rural tourism offer.”

The proposal has been earmarked for approval by members but it has drawn objections from local people who say the impact on people’s quality of life will be unacceptable. One objector cites ‘suburban feral children bussed in and released into the woods for most of the day to scream and shout and make as much noise as possible with no regard for the tranquil environment or the wildlife.”

Applicants say the cabins will be removable and used by volunteers, course participants, visitors and apprentices for 11 months of the year. It says the scheme is well supported and promises controlling conditions but says it is lawful for children and adults to use the woodland. Hadlow Down Parish Council feels the size and scale of the development will deliver unacceptable noise levels but would be prepared to consider the scheme if the number of events was restricted and number of cabins cut back.

Wilderness Wood is a recreational woodland comprising 62 acres of chestnut coppice together with stands of beech, scots pine, douglas, cedar and giant sequoia. On site already are a cafe, a workshop, a home, a kitchen garden, a marquee, and camping shelter.

In 1980 the Yarrow family bought an unloved woodland and created a forestry enterprise and a place to visit for schools and families. Last spring they sold it to the Morrish family who are creating a ‘school’ of self-reliance where adults and children make what they need to flourish from the resources to hand.

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