Following our enquiries regarding the inclusion of parts of the Latchmore catchment in the Forestry Commission schedules for the current “wetland restoration” programme in the New Forest, we are glad to be able to report that we have had confirmation from Steve Avery, Head of NFNPA Planning and Park Services, that the decision has been taken by the HLS Board “not to implement any part of the Latchmore scheme”.
This means that no “restoration” work is scheduled for Ogdens Mire or Thompson’s Castle Mire, or in Sloden Inclosure based on the plans which were included in the Latchmore planning application no.16/00571. The updated Forestry Commission schedules for 2017-2019 are here.
Front-page articles in the Forest Journal dated 2 February 2017, “Wetland project axed”, and the Lymington Times dated 3 February 2017, “Controversial wetland scheme ditched”, report on the decision of the HLS Board to withdraw their plans to “restore” Latchmore Brook; and a report entitled “Delight for campaigners over brook” was published in the issue of the Southern Daily Echo dated 6 February 2017.
At the Verderers’ Court on 18 January, the Official Verderer announced that the HLS Board will not appeal against the decision of the NFNPA planning committee to refuse planning permission for the “restoration” of Latchmore Brook. Please click here to read the announcement. We are delighted that at this stage our campaign to protect this iconic New Forest stream has been successful.
A recently-published postgraduate thesis by Dr Alex Lovegrove entitled “Management and Monitoring in Protected Areas: A case study in the New Forest National Park” presents the results of research undertaken over the past four years . This research has evaluated the effectiveness of wetland restoration in the New Forest.
An extract, which was submitted by Professor Adrian Newton, Faculty of Science and Technology, Bournemouth University to the New Forest National Park Authority before the planning committee meeting (see post dated 27 October), is here: Chapter 4: The Recovery of vegetation following restoration work in New Forest wetlands and Chapter 5: Condition Assessment, Monitoring and Habitat Suitability of the New Forest Mires. The complete thesis is here.
On 12 January the National Audit Office confirmed to Professor John Shepherd that their enquiries into the New Forest Higher Level Stewardship Scheme are continuing. The letter from NAO is here and more information about the enquiry is here (24 Nov) and here (2 Nov).
In his New Forest Notes for December (Lymington Times, 2 December 2016), Anthony Pasmore reflects on the possible outcomes of the recent Latchmore planning decision.
The Lymington Times dated 25 November 2016 reports the grounds for refusal of the planning application to “restore” Latchmore Brook.
Professor John Shepherd has written to the Comptroller and Auditor General of the National Audit Office regarding their current review of aspects of the New Forest HLSS Wetland Restoration projects. To read his letter please click here; and for the documents referred to in his letter click here (objection to the Latchmore planning application), here (comments on the review by Thomas et al, 2016) and here (comments on the “Assurance Report”).
Articles reporting on the planners’ decision have appeared in the Southern Daily Echo dated 16 November 2016; the Forest Journal dated 17 November 2016; the Bournemouth Echo dated 17 November 2016; and the Lymington Times dated 18 November 2016.
We are delighted to report that at the NFNPA Planning Meeting on 15 November 2016 the committee members voted to refuse planning permission for the Latchmore application no.16/00571. We would like to thank everyone who has supported us so loyally and helped us so much throughout this campaign, but for the time being we all need to continue to keep an eye on any activity in the vicinity of Latchmore Brook.
The Decision Notice from the NFNPA to LUC (the Forestry Commission’s agents) is here and we have issued a Press Release, which is here.