Row erupts over Rasen’s ‘banned woodland’

Woodland Grove EMN-190803-115135001
Woodland Grove EMN-190803-115135001

Residents campaigning for a fenced off wood and meadow to be reopened to the public have won the support of MP Sir Edward Leigh.

The Woodland Grove Estate in Market Rasen has a wood and meadow, retained to protect great crested newts, and used by some residents from 2003 until late 2014, when the developer handed over control of maintenance to residents’ organisation Woodland Grove Management Company (WGMC).

Resident Tim Quigley claims that since 2015 members of the public have been told by WGMC they are not allowed to use the wood and meadow - and he is determined to change that.

Mr Quigley claims WGMC told him the area cannot be used due to a risk of drugs being taken there, fires and dog walkers from other estates not cleaning up any mess.

He said: “This of course is utter nonsense and the concept of restricting all on the grounds of a few who may misuse is ridiculous.

“The original plans and consents all outline how access to the public open space areas is to be promoted including a network of mown footpaths for all to enjoy sensibly.

“The most ridiculous aspect of all this is that residents still have to pay for the upkeep of these areas, paying to make their lives less healthy, less safe, and less enriched.

“Sir Edward Leigh has offered us his support as have many families, teachers, and the more conservation minded inclusive residents who believe strongly in education over exclusion.”

Sir Edward said: “I am supporting local residents who should be allowed to use this green space. I have found their arguments persuasive.

“I trust that an amicable solution can be found to resolve this issue.”

Mr Quigley’s claims have been put to WGMC and a spokesman claimed certain areas of the estate have always been restricted.

He said: “In 2003 when the Woodland Grove Estate was built, the developers erected signs and fencing to restrict access to certain areas because they contain the great crested newt which is a protected species.

“Those that bought their houses from new were told that access to these areas would remain restricted.

“This encouraged many people to buy on the estate as these areas provide tranquillity and an undisturbed wildlife habitat across the estate.

“As a recent survey confirmed, the vast majority of owners appreciate the benefits of restricting access to our conservation areas the owner directors of the management company have fought hard to preserve the status quo despite a long campaign to open the areas to the public.”

And a West Lindsey District Council spokesman said the authority would not be taking any action.

The spokesman said: “The matter and issues raised by the resident have been fully investigated by West Lindsey District Council’s enforcement team, and a final decision has been reached which has been communicated to all interested parties.

“The investigation concluded that there is no breach where enforcement action could be taken.

“We have made it clear that there is no action to be taken by the authority.”