Packed meeting welcomes new forest project

PUBLISHED: 18:03 07 August 2008 | UPDATED: 13:31 06 May 2010

The green area shows the site of the proposed new forest just north of Sandridge

The green area shows the site of the proposed new forest just north of Sandridge

A PACKED village hall on Tuesday night gave an enthusiastic response to a plan to plant a new forest on farmland in Sandridge. The meeting in Sandridge was organised by the Woodland Trust which last week announced an £8.5-million fundraising campaign to

A PACKED village hall on Tuesday night gave an enthusiastic response to a plan to plant a new forest on farmland in Sandridge.

The meeting in Sandridge was organised by the Woodland Trust which last week announced an £8.5-million fundraising campaign to buy 850 acres of land north of the village to create England's largest new native forest.

The meeting was so full that several dozen people had to be turned away at the door but the Trust has apologised to them and now plans to hold further public consultation meetings in other parts of the district.

Woodland Trust project manager Toby Bancroft said: "The public reaction was overwhelmingly positive. Obviously people have concerns for such a big project close to their homes and the village.

"We were able to reassure the vast majority of those who attended that our commitment is to keep disruption to village life to a minimum while delivering the huge benefits that this new forest will bring for people and wildlife.

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Recently we, as a family (minus two of the kids), visited The Lodge RSPB reserve in Sandy, Bedfordshire. I had never been before, which is perhaps amiss of me as a birdwatcher as it is the headquarters of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds or RSPB and only 45 minutes drive from home.

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