Petition to save a 400-year-old St Albans wood dismissed by councillors

PUBLISHED: 21:00 20 July 2017

The Wick

The Wick

Archant

A 1,700 signature strong petition objecting to "unnecessary" work to a 400-year-old St Albans woodland has been brought before councillors.

The WickThe Wick

St Albans district council’s (SADC) new Draft Greenspace Action Plan outlines proposals for the maintenance of Marshalswick’s The Wick until 2022.

It includes proposals to fell “invasive” sycamore trees and create a 3.5m “surfaced area” suitable for vehicles.

Petition founder Wendy Brook described this as a “road” through the 4.8 hectare forest, which is designated as a Local Nature Reserve.

Wendy spoke at the meeting on July 12: “These people don’t want The Wick to change, lose its character, they don’t want mature, healthy trees destroyed, they don’t want their benches moved - in fact, they want more benches.

“They don’t want their precious, protected amenity space eroded by an ever-increasing buffer strip and most of all they don’t want a road through their cherished woodland.”

District Cllr Salih Gaygusuz questioned the number of signatures: “I started thinking, ‘wow, maybe we will be able to recruit some helpers and volunteers to keep The Wick tidy and safe’. My hopes slowly flitted away as I realised that the petition signatories were ghosts.

“I say ghosts because the majority of signatories don’t have any links to St Albans, let alone The Wick. They probably don’t even know where The Wick is.”

District Cllr Richard Curthoys agreed: “I commend all the people who signed the petition, showing they care about The Wick. But like my colleague I look forward to seeing them all at the next work day together with Friends of the Wick. Please bring your own shovel and wheelbarrow, although I think some of the wheelbarrows will have to come a long distance.”

Some councillors supported the petition. Cllr Simon Grover advocated caution: “We should be erring on the side of doing nothing and as the petition suggested, letting nature do its job. Of course, sometimes nature does its job and ends up with a desert, and these things we don’t want, so I am not arguing there should be no work done at all.”

A decision on the action plan will be made at a City Neighbourhoods Committee. View the plans at tinyurl.com/n7pjlr5

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