Habitat destroyed

PUBLISHED: 11:21 19 November 2009 | UPDATED: 14:41 06 May 2010

SIR - I refer to your article about the land off Cory Wright Way, Wheathampstead, that has been cleared by the local landowner, Stuart Lewis (Herts Advertiser, November 5). Local people are incensed that this area of nearly a hectare (just over two acres)

SIR - I refer to your article about the land off Cory Wright Way, Wheathampstead, that has been cleared by the local landowner, Stuart Lewis (Herts Advertiser, November 5).

Local people are incensed that this area of nearly a hectare (just over two acres) has been summarily cleared of all its vegetation and wildlife.

Although the site was previously used for industrial purposes until about 25 years ago, it naturally regenerated and became a woodland and a haven for wildlife of all kinds. Any evidence of its previous use was completely obscured. Now it has been laid bare and the wildlife habitat has been destroyed.

Investigations are being carried out to determine the extent of damage that has been caused to wildlife. The Forestry Commission are also looking into the matter. The felling of trees on this scale requires a licence - which Mr Lewis does not have - and there could be a prosecution or a requirement to re-stock the land.

The motive for clearing the land is quite clear. Mr Lewis told us more than a year ago that he and his two associates, together with Marchfield Developments, want to develop the site for housing, even though it's in the Green Belt.

They tried to get it accepted as a potential housing site in the district council's recent Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment but it was rejected by the planners. Mr Lewis would have been aware of this when he sent the contractors in to clear the site.

This is vandalism on a massive scale.

RICK SANDERSON

Chairman, Wheathampstead & District Preservation Society

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