Saturday, 12 July 2014

Fineshade update...


Dear all

I am writing to you because many of your members/readers will have visited Fineshade Wood for bird watching and I hope you will be able to publicise a major development threat here. Forest Holidays, supported by the Forestry Commission, have filed a planning application to use 96 acres of the Public Forest Estate to create a holiday park with 70 cabins and central complex. They will build a total of 2 miles of new roads fragmenting a large block of currently undisturbed woodland and there will be a particular threat to birds and, even more seriously, adders and other reptiles. There are no walking or cycling trails crossing the main part of the 96 acre site and it is currently very difficult to access - that's what makes it so important for wildlife.

With regard to birds, even the FH environmental consultant recognises the site's ecological sensitivity. The following extracts are taken from their very inadequate "Preliminary Ecological Report".  

No specific bird surveys (i.e. Breeding Bird Surveys) were undertaken; this was due to the quantity of bird data already recorded for the woodland...
Red list species that have been recorded include: song thrush, tree pipit, yellow hammer, marsh tit, grasshopper warbler, nightjar, willow tit, skylark and cuckoo. Amber list species that have been recorded include: dunnock, garden warbler, red kite, redstart, willow warbler, whitethroat, green woodpecker, bullfinch and mistle thrush...
Therefore... the site is of at least county importance for birds.

They therefore recommend as mitigation: postponing construction work until the end of the bird-nesting season, erecting 30 nestboxes and creating new areas of certain habitats (primarily tussocky grassland and dense scrub) elsewhere.  This will certainly not be compensate for the destruction of this environmentally sensitive area. 

Please can you encourage your members/readers to make an objection to this development?
The full application can be viewed here: http//:www.east-northamptonshire.gov.uk/planningapplications.  (It is enormous!)
The reference number for the application is 14/01156/FUL. The deadline for objections is 23 July.

Objections can be made:   by email to:   planning@east-northamptonshire.gov.uk
                                                 or online        www.east-northamptonshire.gov.uk/planningapplications
                                                 or by letter to      Planning comments,  East Northants Council, Cedar Drive, Thrapston  NN14 4LZ
Include your name and address (The address will not appear on the website)
  and the reference number 14/01156/FUL and the word OBJECTION

If those of you who represent groups could object on behalf of a group it would also be very helpful. It is important for East Northants councillors and planners to see that there is significant support from outside the area to counter the claim that this development will increase tourism - in fact it may put off visitors who vale the wood's environmental richness. Below you will find some more general information sent out to supporters yesterday. Do please forward this email on as you think appropriate.

Thank you very much indeed in anticipation of your support

Barrie Galpin

15 Top Lodge, Fineshade, Corby. NN17 3BB
01780-444351
(BTO Regional Representative for Northants)


To everyone who asked to be informed about developments at Fineshade Wood.

The expected application from Forest Holidays has now arrived. It is described as:
The erection of 70 cabins and associated buildings and infrastructure and construction of new access road
The full application can be viewed here: http//:www.east-northamptonshire.gov.uk/planningapplications
The reference number for the application is 14/01156/FUL. The deadline for objections is 23 July.
This is a very detailed application and all the documents and plans run to many hundreds of pages. 

Here are some particular points from the application:
70 cabins in 96 acres of public land of Fineshade Wood.
2 miles of new vehicle tracks.
Parking spaces for 189 cars.
This part of the Public Forest Estate will be leased by this company for 125 years.
460 mature trees (trunks > 6in. diameter) to be removed for roads and building construction.

Access will be by means of the existing single track lane from the A43 to Top Lodge.
New forest road to be built from the end of the existing visitor car park passing very close to Top Lodge residents.
An additional 60 vehicles per hour will be added to the existing traffic.
Construction traffic will use the single track lane and then the existing walking track that skirts the north of the site.

Only a preliminary ecological report has been submitted.
Biological surveys are incomplete - both the area surveyed and the time they were carried out.
Very many notable and protected species reported, showing it is certainly an environmentally sensitive site.
Site is "of at least county importance for reptiles and birds".
Partial botanical survey revealed 45 (axiophytes) "worthy plant species" and 22 Ancient Woodland indicators.
460 trees to be removed for roads and building construction.

We are currently reading all the documents in detail - if you have time to read any of them and come across anything very important please let us know (email to fineshade.wood@zen.co.uk) so we can share them widely.  There are two documents that summarise the application: "Design and Access statement" and "Planning statement" (particularly section 5.) The other documents deal in much more detail with, e.g Transport, Ecology, etc.

If you are able to send an objection to the council, here are some pointers.

Include your name and address (The address will not appear on the website)
Include the reference number 14/01156/FUL
At the top, use the word objection (or the council may count it only as a comment)
Indicate why you are qualified to object (e.g "I have been visiting Fineshade for many years")
Stick to a single issue - we believe the main weaknesses of the application are access from the A43 and the environmental sensitivity.
For many of us a short, pithy objection may be the best  approach, as we hope there will be many objections for counsellors to read
If you have particular expertise and develop a detailed objection please send us a copy by email.
Your objection should appear on the website within a few days. If it doesn't please follow it up - several comments were lost on the previous glamping application.

If you live locally, can you get your Parish Council or Village Meeting to consider the application and send an objection? Several local villages in East Northants are listed under "Consultee comments"  on the website. We believe that comments from parishes in Rutland will be important too. If you would like some help with this, please get in touch - for example we may be able to attend a parish meeting if invited. 


On behalf of the residents of Fineshade thank you very much indeed for your help and support
Barrie Galpin

15 Top Lodge, Fineshade, Corby. NN17 3BB
01780-444351
07717-446417

PS Latest on glamping. 57 public comments and 21 consultee comments have been published (is yours there?) - almost all objecting. East Northants Council are planning to make a decision in September. We are very hopeful!

Objections can be made:   by email to:   planning@east-northamptonshire.gov.uk
                                                  or online        www.east-northamptonshire.gov.uk/planningapplications
                                                 or by letter to      Planning comments,  East Northants Council, Cedar Drive, Thrapston  NN14 4LZ

15 Top Lodge, Fineshade, Corby. NN17 3BB
01780-444351

07717-446417
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