Developer shuns public meeting planned to discuss concerns over future of ancient Smithy Wood

Developer shuns public meeting planned to discuss concerns over future of ancient Smithy Wood

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Despite an invitation well in advance, Extra Motorway Services failed to send any representative to a public meeting organised by the Woodland Trust about the company’s proposal to site a service station in Smithy Wood, destroying 20 acres of ancient woodland.

There was standing room only at the meeting as nearly 100 members of the public turned up to voice their concern and hear from a panel of experts on wildlife, ecology, politics and the local area. Each member of the panel clearly refuted the need for a service area that would concrete over an already fragmented ancient wood, which records show as being in existence for at least a millennium.

Oliver Newham, Woodland Trust Campaigner, said:

“It was excellent to see so many people standing up for ancient woodland with a real understanding of what it would mean to lose this precious and irreplaceable habitat. We are obviously disappointed that the developer chose not to send a representative, especially given their initial interest in openly consulting and their stated desire to ‘develop strong and positive links with local people’.

“However, we continue to be optimistic that the developer will take account of the fact that people care passionately about this issue – from senior political figures, to those that used the wood while working next door in the 1960s, and all agreed to ramp up the campaign to save it.

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The Woodland Trust’s petition has so far received more than 2,600 signatories asking for the service station to be sited elsewhere and we believe there are a number of sites nearby that could offer a viable alternative.

Visit http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/savesmithywood to find out more about our campaign.

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