Loxwood wildlife corridor under threat

A wildlife corridor in Loxwood is in danger of being destroyed, Chichester district councillors have been warned.

Tree-felling and hedgerow cutting proposed for Loxwood Meadow, at Roundstreet Common, would completely change the landscape, according to residents and Loxwood Parish Council.

The strong objections were made in response to two separate applications submitted by Bacon Empire Publishing Ltd, who own the meadow, and have planning consent for medieval festivals on up to three weekends a year

An application to fell 13 trees has been conditionally approved.

The committee was told a number of the trees were not of good quality. Replacements were planned.

After hearing representations, the district’s northern area development management committee voted to refuse the second application to cut back trees and shrubs within three metres of the edge of the road over a distance of 15m from an access to the land.

Reasons for refusal included harm to the visual amenity of the area and to its character and appearance.

Recommending approval of both applications, area planning manager David Few said the proposed cutback would be just light maintenance, and would not significantly impact on visual amenity. The proposals were much more limited than previous ones, which were refused.

But local resident John Andrews said they would make the area look like a townscape.

Another objector, Julia Beckell, said the local landscape would be completely changed, and a wildlife corridor destroyed.

Cllr Philippa Hardwick, who represents the area, said in a letter the proposals were unreasonable and disproportionate, given the limited use of the site. They were also likely to damage or destroy ancient woodland.

Maurice Bacon, managing director of Bacon Empire Publishing, told the committee the proposals were nothing to do with the medieval festivals.

“They are to do with the general use of the land, and going on and off it and being safe,” he said.