The race is on to stop a 47 acre luxury holiday development in Delamere Forest as protestors call on those opposed to the plans to join them in a public demonstration.
Demonstration to be held at the
Delamere Forest Visitor Centre, Linmere, CW8 2JD.
The protest is to take place on Sunday 25th March at 1pm and is scheduled to last around an hour.
Forest Holidays, which is part owned by the Forestry Commission, is bidding to build 78 luxury lodges in Delamere Foest at Kingswood - designated an 'area of special county value, in the CWaC local plan, identified because of its high landscape quality.'
The Forestry Commission is also seeking planning permission to double the size of the existing visitor centre, build four new shops and a restaurant and create 300 new car parking spaces.
Time is running out for protestors who claim the lodge plans will wreck a previously untouched area of forest and drive out wildlife. Users of the Forest have until March 31 to make their views known on the proposed development, which many are dubbing a "mini Center Parcs."
People opposed to the plans are also concerned about the environmental impact of the extra traffic from a minimum of 110 extra vehicles a day driving on previously 'pedestrian only' Forest Tracks. Campaign group
Local resident and forest walker Nigel Gilding, (A co-founder of Communities Against Delamere's Destruction (CADD)) said:
"We held a public meeting attended by 250 people at which Forest Holidays' representative admitted the company had not yet completed an environmental impact assessment nor did it have any idea of the CO2 emissions that the new development would produce. They were however, quick to quote a local economy impact assessment, which lays bare their priorities".
"Their economic impact study, which hasn't been published as part of the consultation, quotes a headline grabbing £2.7m into the local economy. Our own study undertaken last week, shows the figure to be nearer half of that".
"Forest Holidays have not been able to rule out further planning applications for the Forest in the future. These planning applications are the thin end of the wedge. We want all those who love the Forest and want to preserve its natural beauty and wildlife to join us at our strategy meeting on the 16th to be informed of what they need to do to stop this scheme going ahead. Our campaign slogan is Defend Delamere - Once it's gone, it's gone. We have to stop that scenario".
CADD (Communities Against Delamere's Destruction), sprang up virtually overnight as a protest movement displaying the level of concern in the local area regarding the destruction taking place.
There is considerable local anger that the Forestry Commission appears to have already started work on the development before any formal planning permission has been saught. Hundreds of trees that have been removed and every single lodge is already pegged out. In addition, new roads have been carved into the forest where once there were none. Nigel Gilding went on to comment
"The forestry commission say this is normal thinning, that is part of the planned maintenance of the forest. I say that it seems odd that trees have been removed in specific areas where lodges are to go, often resuling in a clump of over 20 trees going - somebody should be held responsible for such blatant disregard for the so called 'consultation process' we are supposed to be in".
View the videos of the destruction that have been released on YouTube
Links to other videos are available at:
CADD are urging people to look at what's been happening in the forest and to recruit as many friends and family as possible for the protest on 25th March,
"We need to send a strong signal to the organisations behind these proposals that they have a fight on their hands".