Thursday, 24 August 2017

Councillors wary of accepting wood lease

THE lease for Peppard Wood could be taken over by the parish council.

THE lease for Peppard Wood could be taken over by the parish council.

Councillors have agreed to meet with the Woodland Trust, which currently owns the land but wants to pass on responsibility to a local organisation.

Representatives from volunteer group Sonning Common Green Gym will also be invited to the meeting after volunteering to help manage the site if the council becomes the tenant.

The deal with the trust would most likely involve a nominal rent and the council would become the tenant for between 25 and 99 years.

Council chairman David Hammond said taking on the lease would cost money but added: “On the other hand, you aren’t going to get people from miles away coming to look after Peppard Wood, which is a local amenity.”

Councillor Terry Ryan said: “I don’t think the council should take on another asset to add to our running costs.”

Councillor Leeanne Flett, who chairs the Carlings Orchard committee, said: “Having experienced the costs of Carlings Orchard, I can only shudder at the expense of taking on Peppard Wood.”

She suggested exploring how much the lease deal would cost.

Councillor Hadley Cooper said: “Unless we know exactly what we’re taking on it doesn’t sound like a very promising proposition.

“It’s a nice idea but I can’t see what we know about maintenance of woodland.”

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