Thursday, 19 October 2017

Takeover deal for wood hits problem

PEPPARD wood may not be taken over by the parish council after all due to a dispute over conditions in

PEPPARD wood may not be taken over by the parish council after all due to a dispute over conditions in the lease.

It had agreed to take over management from the Woodland Trust, which currently owns the 14-acre site, subject to a five-year break clause. This was rejected by the trust, which said it would only agree to a minimum of 10 years, and the council is refusing to budge.

The lease would be for 25 years with the maintenance estimated to cost at least £1,300 per year.

Councillor Lee Rawlings asked the trust for more information about the costs but has not received a reply.

He said: “The key thing we don’t have an idea about is the costs of things like replanting stock if something happened that damaged it. A 10-year break clause is still very high for something unknown.”

Councillor Fiona Berry said the costs would be reduced if the council accepted an offer Sonning Common Green Gym to carry out maintenance work free of charge,

The council voted to write to the trust to say it wasn’t prepared to take on the lease under the current terms but is interested in exploring other options.

The trust offered the wood to local organisations as it tries to free up resources to invest in new woodlands.

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