22 July 2019
Marsh Ward Green Councillor Mandy Bannon has successfully persuaded Lancaster City Council to do everything within its legal power to protect Freeman’s Wood from development.
Last week, the Green Group discovered that Council officers had written to the Inspector of the Local Plan accepting his decision that Freeman’s Wood should NOT be designated as a ‘Local Green Space’. The Council had proposed the ‘Local Green Space’ designation based on evidence provided by the Friends of Freeman’s Wood, and this would have given it a high level of protection from development. However, The Inspector rejected this designation following hearings where representatives for the landowners (who want Freeman’s Wood to become a housing development) were allowed to challenge the status of Local Green Space. The Friends of Freeman’s Wood and local Green Councillors requested to speak in defence of ‘Local Green Space’ status at the hearings, but were refused permission to do so.
Mandy said “Freeman’s Wood is a precious natural space, much used by the local community and a wide range of wildlife. I presented a motion to Full Council on 17 July to reaffirm the Council’s intention to protect Freeman’s Wood, and I am delighted that the motion was passed with support from all political parties. I argued that if the Inspector is still intent on removing ‘Local Green Space’ status in his final report, then the Council should use some of its other powers to protect Freeman’s Wood. This could include: giving protection under the designation of ‘Open Space, Recreation and Leisure’; ensuring that Tree Preservation Orders are enforced; and not permitting formal access to the proposed development via the adjacent Council-owned land [Coronation Field].”
Mandy also called for Council to support the application for Freeman’s Wood to be granted Town Green status. A Public Inquiry will be held on 27th – 30th August at Lancaster Town Hall.
The Friends of Freeman’s Wood are currently fundraising to pay for a barrister to represent them at the Town Green public inquiry. They are organising a Summer Fair on Coronation Field on Sunday 28th July with stalls, activities and a Foraging Walk, a ‘Freemans Woodstock’ benefit gig on Saturday 10th August, and T-shirt sales. Seewww.freemanswood.com for further info.
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