Gorse row may spark u-turn

A BID to remove gorse from a Suffolk heathland are on rocky ground today after furious criticism from the public.

A BID to remove gorse from a Suffolk heathland are on rocky ground today after furious criticism from the public.

The Trustees of Rushmere Common are preparing to hold crunch talks over the future of their landscaping blueprint which caused emotions to run high at a meeting on Tuesday.

Trustee chairman Don Ayre said “I am concerned that there is such strong opposition to do anything. The strength of feeling was such that we must take stock.

“The trustees will get together soon to see what their views are and what they feel should happen.

“My view is that some form of management is necessary or the resource will degrade and future generations will not have its proper benefits.

“From a personal point of view I am strongly committed to what the trustees want to do.”

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The project would see around 50 per cent of the gorse removed to allow greater areas of grassland and heather in a bid to improve wildlife.

Schemes would also be set up to education children and a leaflet published about the common.

But commoners fear the landscaping will have an adverse effect on the environment and members of Rushmere Golf Club are worried it will make the course easier and less attractive.

Mr Ayre said he was committed to opening up talks with the golf club to discuss any issues.

The vast majority of people at the commoners' special general meeting at Rushmere Village Hall voted to scrap the plans altogether while around a dozen wanted Suffolk's oldest heathland to be managed in some way, but not in line with the current plan.

They even called for a vote of no confidence in the trustees after claiming they had been railroaded into the scheme.

Funding for the project - which had been backed by Suffolk Coastal District Council, Natural England and the Suffolk Wildlife Trust - could now been in jeopardy.

Mr Ayre said: “It is a major challenge now to see if there's some way forward that might meet the objections.

“But the funding is severely at risk if we vary significantly from the object of heathland restoration.

“We have been here for three years now and we must be getting to a position where we must proceed with something or abandon it.”

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