Concerns about Other “Restorations”
During September 2014, the New Forest National Park Authority invited comments on the Scoping Report for the Environmental Impact Assessment for Latchmore, prior to considering the application for Planning Permission. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the New Forest, other Forestry Commission “restoration” projects went ahead (see posting on this website dated 24 August) without an EIA, two of them attracting comments from their local parish councils and the press.
Ditchend (Planning Permission was not applied for)
The original “restoration” at Ditchend (which is in Godshill parish) was carried out by the Forestry Commission in 2011. In July 2014, further major engineering work was undertaken which was described as a ‘repair’ by the FC and which radically altered the appearance and nature of the stream. The Chairman of Godshill Parish Council made a Presentment to the Verderers’ Court on 16 July asking for a review of the situation before any further work was carried out, but it was completed shortly afterwards. A report on the background to this project is here.
Harvestslade Bottom (Planning Application 14/00611 dated 25 July 2014)
The work planned for Harvestslade Bottom (which is in Burley parish) was discussed at a meeting on 24 September 2014 between representatives of the authorities involved and Burley Parish Council Planning Committee: 31 members of the public also attended the meeting. The draft Minutes of the meeting (we are grateful to the Chairman of Burley PC Planning Committee for permission to publish them) and an article in The Lymington Times dated 4 October record a majority vote opposing the work. Despite this, on 21 October the New Forest National Park Authority Planning Committee approved the application. The work was carried out during the summer of 2015 (please click here for a photographic record of the work in progress), and on 3 February 2016 Burley Parish Council sent an email and a Freedom of Information request to the Forestry Commission. After several months the Forestry Commission had still failed to supply the information requested and on 26 September 2016 Burley Parish Council wrote to the FC headquarters in Bristol instigating a complaint.
In January 2015, the Forestry Commission applied for Planning Permission (Application Number 15/00046/FULL) for another stream “restoration”, at Pondhead, near Lyndhurst. A resident, whose property is threatened by flooding if this proposed “restoration” is undertaken, has had a detailed ecological survey carried out and gave a Presentment to the Verderers’ Court on 18 February 2015 in which she set out their many concerns about the proposed work, including the lack of a full Environmental Assessment to accompany the application. Subsequently the Forestry Commission withdrew the planning application, which was re-submitted in April 2015 (Application Number 15/00294). In February 2016 she wrote to the NFNPA regarding the results of her research, which have significant implications for this project and for “stream restoration” in general (see also post dated 26 February 2016 on the Home page). A further Presentment to the Verderers’ Court on 16 March 2016 (with Appendices here and here) sets out the shortcomings in the application.