Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Clearance criticised

WATLINGTON Parish Council wants to know whether work to clear a green space in Watlington was carried out lawfully.

Mason’s Wood, near Church Street, is owned by the Icknield Masonic Lodge of the Freemasons.

The council says it is an area for wildlife and dog walking. It is also designated as a local green space in the Watlington Neighbourhood Plan.

A motion put forward by Councillor Tim Horton said the area had not only been cleared but also there was steel fencing against an established footpath and access had been denied.

The public had free access to the area for years but the lodge had concerns over access and put up boundary fencing two years ago.

The council agreed to ask South Oxfordshire District Council and Oxfordshire County Council to examine whether the work was carried out within the relevant regulations.

However, members voted against seeking to have the ownership or management of the land transferred to a public body or a trust that would restore and sustain the area as an open space.

Councillor Horton described the relationship with the Masons as “very fraught”.

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