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Thundersley wood now open to public after 10-year campaign
8:00pm Wednesday 6th March 2013 in News
A TEN-YEAR campaign to get a much-loved area of woodland designated as a village green has finally been won.
The north section of Coombe Wood, in Coombewood Drive, Thundersley is now officially open to the public after Essex County Council gave the plans to reclassify the land as a village green their seal of approval.
The move means public access to the ancient woodland is now legally protected, enabling dog walkers, picnickers and local girl guide and scout groups to use the 30-acre site uninhibited.
Terry Isherwood, chairman of the Friends of Coombe Wood group, who submitted the original application, said: “This is such great news. The people who will really gain from this are all the community groups who previously had difficulty accessing the site which really curtailed their activities.
“Now, we are legally entitled to access the woods which is really nice and a big benefit to the community.”
Residents have been fighting for the application to be approved since 2002 in an effort to protect the area from redevelopment.
Essex County Council approved approximately 60 per cent of the woodland to be classified as village green in 2007 following a three year campaign and public inquiry into the cause.
However, land north of the brook which runs through the site, was excluded from the proposals.
Now, the public has the right to access the entire site after the second part of the wood – known as Village Green Two – was granted village green status by the county council under the Commons Act 2006 last month.
Eileen Peck, of Grasmere Road, Thundersley, who submitted the second application, said: “I am very pleased with the result. This will mean a lot to the elderly residents in my road who currently have to go all the way up to the common to access the wood. I am delighted.”
The group was given extensive help and legal advice from Castle Point Council, the Environmental Law Foundation, the Castle Point Association of Voluntary Services, and the Open Spaces Society, without whom Mr Isherwood said their success would not have been possible.
For more information visit www.friendsofcoombewood.org.uk
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