UK: Plans submitted to turn Watling Wood in Leadgate into a factory

A planning application to a replace a community woodland with a
factory and showroom is being recommended for approval – despite
objections from environmentalist David Bellamy. The eminent
conservationist backed the campaign to save three acres of Watling
Wood in Leadgate, near Consett, which he planted with school children
in the early 90s. Gary Hall Double Glazing and Conservatories, of
Blackhill, has submitted an application to remove the trees so the
business can expand into new premises.

The firm has spent £25,000
drawing up plans, which have been recommended for approval by
Derwentside District Council. Area planning officer Graham Blakey is
advising members of the development control committee to approve the
scheme when it meets at Consett Civic Centre on Thursday. He said:
“The designation of the site encourages the presence of this type of
development and there are no concerns over the design and appearance
of the proposed scheme.” The plan involves the creation of the 930
square metre single storey factory unit surrounded by a 2.4m security
fence as well as access roads and lighting columns. The council has
received a 500-name petition and 20 letters of objection from
residents of Leadgate outlining their concerns. They claim the
community has a strong bond with the woodland and that it should be
maintained as an asset. It is said the area is a natural habitat for
wildlife in the area including kestrels, red kites, deer, foxes,
squirrels and great crested newts. Dr Bellamy has written to the
authority supporting residents and urging members to protect what he
described as “a very important community resource in Leadgate”.

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Comments (1)

P. OliverJanuary 18th, 2009 at 1:30 am

I cannot believe that Derwentside Council will allow this development to go ahead when there is so much vacant land on the adjacent Number One Industrial Estate.
Surely industial development should be kept to industrial sites and not community areas.

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