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Residents try to save woodland

PUBLISHED: 20:33 20 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:52 03 March 2010

FURIOUS residents say they are determined to try and stop a beautiful piece of woodland being bulldozed to make way for houses and a road.

The small wood in Kesgrave is on land earmarked to be part of the Grange Farm development and a property company wants to fell part of it for houses and run a road through the middle.

FURIOUS residents say they are determined to try and stop a beautiful piece of woodland being bulldozed to make way for houses and a road.

The small wood in Kesgrave is on land earmarked to be part of the Grange Farm development and a property company wants to fell part of it for houses and run a road through the middle.

Members of Suffolk Coastal District Council are due to consider an application for 95 homes next week, which has led pro-woodland campaigners to step up the pressure.

Developers Westbury Homes, which already owns the land it wants to build on including part of the wood, say the trees were only planted in the 1950s for timber and were always intended to be cut down.

And council planners have told campaigners that the land was been earmarked for development for the last ten years.

But David Belton, of Friends Walk, Kesgrave, who is leading the fight to save the trees, insists communities should not be bound by the past and the trees should stay.

"They may have been planted to be cut down, but people then didn't think it would be because of a housing estate," he said.

He said it seems "totally wrong" to be bound by planning decisions made a long time before the wood matured into a facility which is now enjoyed by local people.

"Whatever the arguments, it is still doing away with a patch of woodland which is a pleasant little spot and which people enjoy," Mr Belton said.

A council spokesman said: "The Grange Farm development was approved in principal in the early 1990s and the masterplan showed a road would be put in going through the plantation of trees.

"We have been negotiating with the developers about the way they are proposing to locate the homes. The goal is that some of the more outstanding trees be preserved."

While a spokesman for Westbury Homes added: "Most of the plantation will remain a wooded area. The council have been insistent that the trees that are worth keeping are kept, but there are certain trees which need to be felled."

The company commissioned a tree expert to examine the woods and has rooted the proposed road around the better trees, which include oak, beech and ash trees. Any trees which are cut down would also be done so out of nesting season for birds.

"We are very conscious of the environment and the whole thing has been designed in conjunction with the council. Ultimately less than 20 per cent of the trees will be felled."

The planning meeting is due to take place on May 29.

N What do you think? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk


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