Woodland woes

SIR – Surely the Woodland Trust s refusal to provide any public amenities at Heartwood Forest displays their arrogance and complete contempt for local residents. I understand they have a track record of setting up such projects and moving on, leaving lo

SIR - Surely the Woodland Trust's refusal to provide any public amenities at 'Heartwood Forest' displays their arrogance and complete contempt for local residents.

I understand they have a track record of setting up such projects and moving on, leaving local communities to deal with the consequences. As reference to their website shows, they are operating 'Heartwood Forest' (aka Disneywood) as a visitor centre. They seek to attract tens of thousands of visitors, holding numerous open days and "fun activities", and expect the local community to provide all the necessary facilities, presumably at the expense of council tax payers. Have the residents of Sandridge been asked if they wish to be joined with Heartwood Forest?

There is virtually no public transport to the site and inevitably almost all of the visitors will arrive by car with much of the traffic concentrated at weekends. Many people will have travelled some distance and on arrival will expect to be able to buy a cup of tea or soft drink and to find toilet facilities without having to go to the nearest village.

Will the parents of the school children being brought to the forest be happy that their offspring are taken off to the local pub for refreshments and to use the toilets? If the Woodland Trust wish to impress with their green credentials why don't they install composting toilets on the site?

I find it hard to understand why people living in the area surrounding this site have had no opportunity to object to such a large and intrusive development.

I suspect many would prefer Hill End Farm to remain as prime farmland producing much needed food. This is Green Belt land and as such should be protected from significant change.

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There are also two public rights of way crossing the site whose use may well be compromised by the development. Certainly the magnificent views enjoyed by walkers and horse riders for generations will be lost for ever.

The local roads cannot cope with the existing traffic and we are already seeing problems arising from this development.

Large coaches are negotiating the narrow lanes and parked cars are blocking the entrances to public rights of way and private property.

Surely any development which impacts to such an extent on the local area should be subject to the normal planning procedures.

RHODA HARRISON

Eastmoor Park, Harpenden

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