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5th Jul, 2022

Warwickshire councillors take tour of woodlands under threat from development

A WOODLAND tour for Stratford district councillors is hoped to influence a decision to reject housing proposals in Meon Vale.

Last year the woods were identified as a ‘reserved housing site’ in a document known as the site allocation plan – a reserve list of potential housing sites to safeguard the district from opportunist developers. But in an updated submission of the document, the area’s status has been elevated to a ‘site specific proposal’.

And now Stratford District Council (SDC) is shortly set to vote on whether to move the proposals for a further 300 homes across nearly 80 acres of woodland, to a public consultation.

To further build their case, campaigners invited Conservative councillors to explore the woodland – they describe as ‘a green lung’ and lifeline for residents – to demonstrate the potential loss faced by the community.

Warwick district councillor Chris Mills, Coun Edward Fitter from SDC, and Warwickshire County Council leader Izzy Seccombe, accepted the invitation.

A spokeswoman for campaign group Save Meon Vale Woodland Walk said the visitors appreciated the scale of woods and native trees facing devastation.

She went on: “They noted the number of people of all ages who were using the woods and saw the trees were of native oak, ash and pine and that the woods were not a commercial coniferous plantation. They became aware of the importance of the woods for birds and wildlife and noted that there was great scope to improve this by better management of the woods. They also appreciated the importance of the woods in screening the large industrial buildings next to the site.”

In his initial response to the campaign, SDC leader Coun Tony Jefferson said the council recognised residents’ concerns and explained the public consultation would seek answers on whether the site should be developed for housing and if so, what that development might be like.

The decision on whether to move proposals to public consultation will take place during a meeting on Monday (October 19).

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