Public sign petition to save woods

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save an area of woodland from development were out in force in the town centre on Saturday (April 19), gathering support for their cause.

The Friends of Speckled Wood set up a stall in the Priory Meadow shopping centre to urge the public to sign their petition.

The woodland area in Ore is under threat of possible development of new houses.

Martin Newbold, chairman of the Friends of Speckled Wood Management Trust, said: “We were able to get 399 additional responses on Saturday now making our total to date 1,236 in favour of removing Speckled Wood from the Development Management Plan 2014.

“We wish to thank the Priory Meadow Shopping for its help for making this possible.

“It was quite surprising that all of the people we spoke to had no idea that the Development Management Plan existed or what it was.”

Speckled Wood is located between Old London Road, Greville Road and Frederick Road, with entrances by the Salvation Army citadel, Frederick Road and Victoria Avenue.

In September 2012 campaigners from the Friends of Speckled Wood handed over a petition containing more than 1,200 signatures of support for their cause to the council’s deputy leader Cllr Peter Chowney.

Consultation on the Development Management Plan, which oversees possible development in town up to 2028, ended on Tuesday (April 22). More than 10 years ago, Ore Valley Action was set up by people to campaign for Speckled Wood to be protected. Parts of the woodland, particularly the northern end, are under more threat from development than others. In February, a new outline application for 34 houses was approved by the council.