Barbed wire used to block entry to woodland in St Albans

PUBLISHED: 08:28 09 March 2016 | UPDATED: 08:28 09 March 2016

A den built by children lies just the other side of a new barbed wire fence which has been erected to keep people from entering the private woodland

A den built by children lies just the other side of a new barbed wire fence which has been erected to keep people from entering the private woodland

Archant

A landowner’s decision to section off an area of woodland with barbed wire has been condemned as ‘petty’.

A den built by children lies just the other side of a new barbed wire fence which has been erected to keep people from entering the private woodlandA den built by children lies just the other side of a new barbed wire fence which has been erected to keep people from entering the private woodland

Residents and councillors ound that much of Park Wood, off Ragged Hall Lane in Chiswell Green, was blocked off to the public last month.

Landowners CP Holdings are thought to have undertaken the restrictive measures in reaction to a petition submitted to Herts county council applying to make the footpath in the wood an official Public Right of Way.

St Stephen parish councillor John Bell explained: “We were able to fill in forms for the council as the footpaths had been in use for over 20 years but we had to give evidence. At the moment we have over 30 forms completed.”

Nearby residents have expressed their anger at the barbed fencing.

Hugh Day said: “I have lived here for 37 years and in all that time I have used the woods to go for walks.

“Then they put up signs saying ‘private keep out’ and everywhere you used to be able to go for a walk they have put up barbed wire.

“The idea of keeping people out like this is just petty.”

Another resident, who regularly walks with her children through the woods but did not want to be named, said her six and eight year old daughters were no longer able to play in a den they had built in the woodland because of the fencing.

She said: “This was their den and now they cannot access it.

“It is such a shame this has happened because it is so very educational to be in the woods and to be surrounded by nature.

“We always liked strolling around looking at the bluebells too.”

The land was registered as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) last March, and St Albans district council then rejected an appeal against that decision by CP Holdings last Autumn.

The ACV status of the land means should CP Holdings decide to sell Park Wood, the parish council would get first refusal to purchase it but there is no obligation on CP Holdings to accept an offer.

Cllr Bell said: “In the long term we would like to obtain the wood if it came on the market, but we are not aware of any intention from CP Holdings to sell at this moment.”

No-one from CP Holdings was available for comment.

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