The Voice Of The People Of The Forest of Dean
This Objections to the proposed developments at the Cinderford Northern Quarter CNQ are submitted on behalf of the Membership of Dean Forest Voice (DFV).
DFV are a Heritage and Culture supporting group, based in the Forest of Dean, with in excess of 1000 recorded members. DFV were founder members of the 'Hands off Our Forests' (HOOF) campaign which, together with similar groups throughout the country convinced the Government to review the decision to sell off theNational Forests.
1. Our objections are based on the intention to develop a significant parcel of Forest Waste Land at the area referred to as the Cinderford Northern Quarter.
2. Since the proposals to develop this particular area of land came to our attention in 2003 we have been critical of them - not for what they proposed for the area- but because it infringed on large areas of Forest Waste.
3. The term 'Forest Waste' is used to describe all land within the Statutory Forest of Dean (SFoD) that is not legally enclosed, (1908 Forestry Act) so that this open land (Waste of the Forest) is available to Commoners for pasture, and they hold this land in joint occupation with the Crown (invested in the Forestry Commission ) FC.
4. The Forestry Act, 1981 controls the disposal of any designated SFoD land and only permits the exchange of small areas of it where the FC deem it not required, or unsuitable for forestry or related uses. This provision is exclusive to the SFoD. The same Act also imposes a general duty, which is translated into the FC 'Mission Statement' as follows:-
Protect and expand Britain's forests and woodlands and increase their value to society and the environment
Taking these two requirements on their own it is difficult to see how any justification can be made for taking SFoD land on a scale suggested for the Cinderford Northern Quarter.
5. Under the terms of the Forestry Acts 1967/81 only small areas of land can be exchanged for more suitable land where the Minister can demonstrate the land is not required for forestry use. The ability of the FC to dispose of Forest Land is laid down by the Forestry Act 1981 which by S1 does not apply to the FoD, so that if forestry land in the FoD can be disposed of at all, then it can only be disposed of under the terms of the aforementioned 1967/81 Acts.
6. The land comprising the Linear Park was subject to a Derelict Land Grant DLG. The design criteria for the reclamation was to establish a 'soil creating habitat' and subsequent re-afforestation.
7. The reclaimed land is subject to a public access agreement securing full and unrestricted public access until 2030. The agreement was a prerequisite condition of the government DLG.
8. Parts of the site are Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust Key Wildlife Sites and any development is likely to be in conflict with the Habitats Directive and Habitat regulations. The site is part of an SAC (Special area of Conservation) of European Importance for species protected by the Habitat Directive and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended).
9. The area still contains vast reserves of coal which could prove of immense value to the country in future years, but which would now become sterilised.
10. Dean Forest Voice do not wish to get into arguements about roads or educational establishments. Our policy is to protect the SFoD which includes all Forest waste.
These arguments represent the basis of our objection to the proposed development at the Cinderford Northern Quarter. We request the Council reject them as 'out of hand'
For and on behalf of Dean Forest Voice