New fear sparked on forest cabins in Shropshire border woodland
Plans to build a holiday cabin park in unspoilt woodland on the Shropshire border could be about to resurface, nearby residents fear.
Hugely controversial proposals for a 68-cabin development in Mortimer Forest on the border with Herefordshire were revealed by the Forestry Commission and Forest Holidays early last year.
To the delight of campaigners, Forest Holidays announced in September 2018 that it was “not in a position to bring forward a planning application for Mortimer Forest”.
But fears have now been re-ignited by a survey published online by the Forestry Commission, asking for people’s views on the possibility of cabins in the forest in the future.
The questionnaire also asks for views on other possible projects that could come to the forest, like Segways, woodland weddings and 4x4 off-roading, as well as questions about why visitors use the forest and volunteering opportunities.
Ludlow resident and bookshop owner Merlin Unwin said: “Questions invite yes/no answers on a range of topics, then slip in the option of having cabins in Mortimer Forest.
“This surely is an insult to our intelligence after the hard-fought and resounding ‘no’ the local community delivered to last year’s attempt by the Forestry Commission to install multiple cabins and in the process destroy the tranquillity of Mortimer forest, and squander the natural resources which are so important to so many local people.
“As with so many such surveys of a very small number of respondents, they are often held up as definitive guidance to create new policy initiatives.
“With forest fires destroying the Amazon and Great Britain pronouncing on how Brazil should conserve its natural environment, the local Forestry Commission, who we should be able to trust as the guardian of our own forest is still, it appears, intent on seriously compromising a woodland held dear by the indigenous population.
“We need to remain vigilant.”
The development would have seen what campaigners called a “hugely destructive” holiday park built in the publicly-owned forest, on a site the size of Ludlow town centre.
There was fierce opposition to the scheme from the offset, sparking the launch of the Save Mortimer Forest group, which said it would cause irreparable damage to the forest and its wildlife. A petition urging Herefordshire Council to reject the application was signed by almost 5,000 people.
The Forestry Commission has been asked to comment.