Opposition to housing plan in ancient woods

A plan to build housing in a pocket of ancient woodland has been met with opposition by residents who want to protect a designated natural habitat.

The plan, which has been submitted by County and City Developments, is within woodland designated as an area of important habitat, with protected and priority species. The former oak and hornbeam coppice land and two ponds is also an area of geological conservation.

Rodger Pyrah, who lives in The Mansion adjacent to the woodland, said: “These woodlands, however small to human needs, are home to a variety of species ranging from deer, foxes, squirrels, magpies and jays, as well as many nocturnal creatures. The destruction of their habitat for the sake of six families is not a reason to proceed.

“It will destroy natural habitat of wildlife that should be protected on the edge of the Stevenage conurbation. It will destroy trees and woodland that creates environmental benefit.”

Whitney Drive resident Stuart Blain said further reduction of the woodland after a similar development was given the green-light in 2008 is unacceptable.

“The owner of the wood did not restore the wood after development of the existing terraced houses. In fact the area surrounding the houses is in a worse state than before. If the local residents are to be believed, the developer used part of the wood as a dumping ground for debris and they are still trying to clear up the mess over a year after the last work was done there. New development would lead to more of the same. I’m very surprised that Stevenage Borough Council does not appear to do a good job of policing this sort of thing.”

A spokesman for the council said the application is under consideration by the council’s tree officer and will also be considered by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust to assess the impact of the development on trees and wildlife.

Most Read

She added: “Trees are protected either by a tree preservation order or if located in a conservation area. All trees on the site will be considered as part of the application process, whether protected by a tree preservation order or not, to assess the impact of any loss on the surrounding area.”

The application is expected to be considered by the council planning committee in September.