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Pragma

Alvecote Wood Ancient Woodland at Threat

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The wood already links to a canal, and country park, and there are houses and consented development just west of this proposal. The developer has kept a reasonable distance from the wood, better than most I've seen. There must be quite a bit of public access and disturbance already.

 

Your objections need to be on planning grounds, not on how many cats people own. Is the land allocated for housing, is it greenbelt, or does it have any other designations that would preclude development, does the LPA have a demonstrable 5 year supply of housing land, is the location sustainable, are there any historical/archaeological constraints, landscape and visual impacts, strategic landscape issues e.g. the meaningful gap, and so on. But having had a quick look, I'd say you were up against it.

 

Maybe you could engage positively with the planners and developer and see if you can get money for woodland management, or to buy the area of land east of the wood bounded by the wood, canal and M42 then plant it up, because unless you can get ownership that's the next bit of land that's going to come forward for development. Engage with the new residents, make access easier so people stick to the paths, get them involved in maintenance give them a feeling of 'ownership'.

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Further to the above. The land west of Robleys Lane is allocated for housing in the Local Plan. You will have great difficulty preventing housing on an allocated site. The section east of Robleys Lane and west of the M42 is allocated as 'meaningful gap'. However, what the 'meaningful gap' is, is open to question. And has been questioned at appeal and found wanting. It doesn't appear that the Council has a five year housing supply. Therefore, the default position is to grant permission for sustainable development, including on unallocated sites such as the meaningful gap.

 

If you truly want to fight this you are going to need proper planning advice from a proper planning consultant. And if it goes to appeal by way of a public inquiry proper representation, and that means a QC. No matter how many objectors you get complaining about cats I really can't see that they will make any difference. It's a shame objections and representations aren't published, unless I'm looking in the wrong place. But to reiterate an earlier point, objections must be on planning grounds.

 

As for why you can't find a corresponding application at Tamworth BC, it's because the proposal doesn't appear to straddle the boundary, albeit that its up to it.

 

You really do need professional help, and you won't get that off any internet site.

Edited by EdwardC

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On 06/02/2019 at 21:19, EdwardC said:

Maybe you could engage positively with the planners and developer and see if you can get money for woodland management, or to buy the area of land east of the wood bounded by the wood, canal and M42 then plant it up, because unless you can get ownership that's the next bit of land that's going to come forward for development. Engage with the new residents, make access easier so people stick to the paths, get them involved in maintenance give them a feeling of 'ownership'. 

Thanks.

 

I am not trying to stop the development. I think there is no chance of that. I am trying to demonstrate public opinion, as that carries weight with the Planners and Councillors.

 

I had a meeting with the Chief Planning Officer (plus councillors) yesterday, precisely with the aim of engaging with the Planners and developer. That is a work in progress. As I said, there are lots of strands to this. It is not appropriate to publish details of that, yet, as it is all dependent upon lots of discussion and agreement. The deadline for the Public Consultation is the 16th February so I am trying to strengthen our case, should the developers not be amenable to discussion and compromise. More info on the Woods FB page:

 

https://www.facebook.com/pg/AlvecoteWood/posts/?ref=page_internal

 

I do have professional help in the form of a specialist Planning Solicitor and consultant ecologists also specialising in Planning. Again, that is to build a strong argument to encourage the developers to come to the table.

 

It is a long haul.

 

The bit of land you mention, if it is the piece I think you mean, we already own and we planted it up under an FC WCG scheme around 2011. It is called Betty's Wood. The developers make little mention of it, but it is now an LWS in its own right (the developers should have disclosed that fact, especially as we informed them in 2017). The bit of land beyond Betty's Wood, bounded by the canal and going further towards the M42, was in HLS but is now being farmed again. We also instigated a new Landscape Scale inititative called the Anker Valley Project, and that piece of land is part of the corridor. There is a SSSI on the other side of the canal, though, so there is still a corridor even while that field is being farmed. Sadly, we have HS2 immediately on the other side of the M42, there, and that's another story of correspondence going from us and nothing coming back...

 

And yes, again, I am already in discussion about engaging with the new residents, on multiple fronts.

 

There is a lot going on and I am thinking ahead, but all that is affected by what happens wrt this Application. Hence, asking people to voice their support, now, so the Planners know that people care. That affects the starting position for everything else.

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On 05/02/2019 at 04:06, Pragma said:

(A few of you may have already seen this, posted on the SWOG (Small Woodland Owners' Group) forum.)

Some housing developers have submitted a Planning Application to build 1,540 houses right next to our woods! We knew it was coming, but this is bigger than was originally proposed, and that was already terrifying!

Sadly, it is unlikely that we will be able to stop this project going ahead as the councils are under so much pressure from Government to build houses, and the developers have the upper hand.

Alvecote Wood is an ancient woodland voted the Best Managed Small Woodland in England by the RFS a few years ago. It was also the first licensee under the new Grown in Britain scheme promoting sustainable forestry in the UK with a supply chain linked to it. There is more information on the Alvecote Wood Facebook page.

I am now scurrying around, trying to build a solid legal challenge with the aim of getting the developers to agree some mitigation. They have treated the woods with some respect, but not a lot. E.g. they are saying that there will be no additional footfall at the woods because we have Private Property signs - that is a total cop-out and sadly proven over the years to be baseless. We've had a lot of problems with people trying to nick things, damaging stuff (e.g. more broken fencing and ironically one of our Private Property signs trashed a few weeks ago!), poaching, etc etc. I can cope with the current level. I'm not happy about it, but I can cope. My simple analysis and projections (using very helpful research from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, plus direct input from one of the researchers themselves) suggest a likely eight-fold increase is what we should expect in human disturbance, and probably worse than that, in fact. And more than a factor of 8 on issues with domestic cats crossing the road from the new houses and eating all our voles, leaving the barn owls nothing to eat. Etc.

The Planning Application is in its public consultation period now, until 16th February. This is where you come in, please.
I have written a bunch of example 'objection' comments related to the proposed housing development next to the woods, on the following web page:

http://www.alvecotewood.co.uk/HousingObjections.php

There are instructions on the web page and also when you follow the link to the council's website.

You can choose any number of these comments and use them to form your own response to the council.

Please, please put in your comments about this housing proposal, regardless of where you live, including even outside the UK.

Feel free to cherry-pick items that you care about and to add as many of your own comments as you wish.

You can put in more than one response, but please don't submit the same comment repeatedly.

Ideally, rephrase my words so your comments are your own, but if you think some of my words are already what you'd like to say, then go for it.

The public consultation runs until 16th February 2019. I understand you can still e-mail comments after that date and before the matter is debated by the Planning Committee, but the sooner you get something in, the better. I think it is definitely a good idea to at least submit something to the council before 16th February.

I may update that web page as more information comes to light and as I get more advice from experts. I have put an 'update date' above each block of comments so you can see if there has been any recent changes. I will try to add any new comments at the bottom of the list, with a separator that shows the date of each addition.

Thank you in advance. This is a critical time for our woods and for our local community. We do a lot with local schools as well as lots of public Open Days etc, etc. The community really value all that and it was always part of the dream that my wife and I shared from the start, 11 years ago! Very sadly, my wife (Dr. Sarah Walters OBE) passed away last April so now it is me taking care of the woods on my own, with help from friends I hasten to add.

Please share this post to any like-minded people that you know, in any country!

Alvecote Wood needs your help!

Thanks in advance,

Steve.

Hi Steve, you could try the otters or badgers angle,up near glasgow rolls royce were trying for new test beds,but it got knocked back,i think it was for otters in residence,but i know for a fact their was a  badger  set in the vicinity,dont know how that would go in your area regarding the badger murders with TB outbreaks down south.

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20 hours ago, struie said:

Hi Steve, you could try the otters or badgers angle,up near glasgow rolls royce were trying for new test beds,but it got knocked back,i think it was for otters in residence,but i know for a fact their was a  badger  set in the vicinity,dont know how that would go in your area regarding the badger murders with TB outbreaks down south.

Hiya, There are badgers nearby, and the developers have done surveys to assess the impact on them. They go through official processes on all these things, but you do wonder how they judge relative impacts. The traffic assessment is a joke, and it's another thing where there are official models but all of us in the area know the traffic is already ridiculous and even a 1% increase will be significant. Otters are coming closer to our newly-planted Betty's Wood area, but not in residence, yet. The development is not directly touching Betty's Wood. Disturbance is a concern, though, both during construction and afterwards. With all of these things, there doesn't seem to be any longer term monitoring of what really happens afterwards. The developers do their modelling, but what happens if it all ends up becoming a problem later on? The developers are long gone by then, generally.

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