Heartwood Forest protest group holds awareness walk

A GUIDED walk to the site of a new car park and access road for Heartwood Forest drew a good turnout on Sunday.

Growing numbers of Sandridge villagers have been voicing their concern about the car park site which is off the B651 close to Pound Farm and has been given planning permission.

The walk to the site and a visit to the one favoured by protestors was organised by the Heartwood car park action group, who believe that despite the groundswell of opposition in Sandridge, a lot of villagers are still not aware of the impact the car park and 400m access road will have on the Green Belt.

Their preferred site is on the triangle of land bordered by the B651 and Coleman Green Lane to the north of Sandridge which is owned by the Woodland Trust.

But the charity, which is creating the 850-acre broad-leaved forest in the village, has always maintained that it was also their preferred site until they learned that it would not be supported by Herts Highways because it would involve visitors to the forest having to cross a B road.

The action group is in the process of drawing up a petition opposing the village site and Graham Mullett, spokesman for the campaigners, said people were adding to it daily.

He maintained that most people in Sandridge were unaware of the planning application until two weeks before the district council approved the plan and were unhappy that no opportunity was given to them to express their feelings when the parish council met to give its view on it.

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He added: “It feels as if not only were we under-represented and under-informed but there has been a concerted effort to slip this proposal under the radar completely.”

Email the group at heartwoodcarpark@yahoo.co.uk or see its blog at heartwoodcarpark.wordpress.com