Some housing developers have submitted a Planning Application to build 1,540 houses right next to Alvecote Wood ancient woodland in North Warwickshire, near Tamworth. My wife and I have owned the wood for 11 years, now, and we knew it was coming, but this is bigger than was originally proposed, and that was already terrifying!
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 website and Facebook page:
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.
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. It is easy to see the potential for a very serious impact on the delicate ecosystem there.
The Planning Application is in its public consultation period now, until 16th February. This is where you come in, please.
A selection of example 'objection' comments related to the proposed housing development next to the woods, are available on the following web page:
There are instructions on the web page and further instructions 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. Of course, you can also add your own thoughts.
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.
This is also a significant case for our UK forestry and arb industry. If we can’t help safeguard a high-profile woodland like this, it will be a sad indictment of our current situation.
Please share this story to any like-minded people that you know, in any country!
Alvecote Wood needs your help!
Thanks in advance,
Owner, Alvecote Wood