Thursday, 12 December 2019

Tree felling banned by High Court

A HIGH Court injunction has been issued banning anyone from chopping down trees in a parcel of woodland in Goring Heath.

The order, which was sought by South Oxfordshire District Council, applies to a 10-acre site known as Oakwood Covert, next to the houses in Penny Royal.

The council took action after a family was seen felling oaks with a chainsaw at the site on July 11.

A concerned resident reported this to district and parish councillor Peter Dragonetti, who investigated and found at least one family at the scene in two vehicles bearing Irish number plates.

When he challenged them, explaining they needed permission to remove the trees, they responded aggressively that it was their land and they could do as they pleased.

It is understood that the land was recently sold off in smaller plots and the family had purchased one of these.

Councillor Dragonetti alerted planning officers and the court order was served a few days later.

The family felled eight trees before leaving and has not returned since.

Cllr Dragonetti said: “It appears that this whole wood is being offered for sale in tiny parcels and gullible people are buying.

“The seller is not claiming that it’s suitable for housing, which clearly would never get permission in a million years, but all buyers would be wise to consult a solicitor when going through the process to find out what is allowed.

“Undoubtedly there will be more similar incidents and it would be good to ensure that this fine ancient woodland is protected as it’s a valuable part of the local amenities.

“I am glad the district council took action and was impressed by how swiftly they stepped in.”

He is now investigating whether the site could be purchased by the community for public use.

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