Rogate woodland centre plan gets the chop

Plans for a woodland craft training centre at Rogate have been refused after neighbours complained activities there were already causing a disturbance.

Paddy Cox who is behind the Dangstein Conservancy plan for woodland next to his Laundry Cottage home, wanted permission for traditional woodland crafting, education and tourism through the provision of six camping pitches, six overnight shelters and a community shelter.

But members of the South Downs National Park’s planning committee heard some of the activities were already taking place and were the subject of enforcement investigations.

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Paddy Walker told the committee he was speaking on behalf of 31 immediately neighbouring households who had employed experts to help them fight the plans. He said no evidence of need had been produced: “There is also no visual impact assessment, and no assessment of noise or pollution in this unspoilt woodland.”

Another neighbour Nick Jacobs said the plan could be summed up in three words ‘flawed, destructive and threatening.’

He added: “This application could encourage park-wide abuse. It could set a dangerous precedent.”

Dr Mairi Rennie, asked on behalf of 40 households on Terwick Common that ‘Fyning Lane be restored to its former safety and tranquillity.”

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For the conservancy Nina Williams said it was a ‘unique multifunctional woodland management project’ which showcased best practice.

Mr Cox told the meeting he believed in creating sustainability communities and wanted to provide ’opportunities for all the community to understand, enjoy and contribute to caring for this landscape.”

Heather Baker echoed the sentiments of fellow members when she said: “There are elements of the proposal which are, in principle acceptable to us.” But she said she was concerned about how it could be managed at an appropriate level of activity for the local community.

“Clearly the community are very concerned about what is happening so far.”