To all Friends of Fineshade

We haven’t sent out an email to all the Friends for quite a long while but tonight seems exactly the right time to share with you some outstandingly good news: the Forestry Commission (FC) have today agreed that they have no plan or intention to allow Forest Holidays (FH) to try to develop Fineshade Wood.

We’ve known for a while, that there was no immediate likelihood of FH coming back, but we’ve been pushing the Commission to say clearly that they, FC, will not support a FH re-application. And at long, long last they have now done that. At a meeting this morning Paddy Harrop, the new Forest Management Director for Central England, said he had received an absolute assurance from the FC national office that they now have no intentions to invite or allow FH to resubmit a planning application here. Fineshade has been taken off the so called “Exclusivity List”.

So that’s it – no cabins, no hot tubs, no extra miles of vehicle tracks in our precious woodland, not now, not ever!

And it’s you, the Friends of Fineshade, who have achieved this. Many of you sent objections to the original planning applications, many of you have written direct to the FC urging them to remove the threat to Fineshade once and for all, many of you wrote message for the website (remember the Writing on the Wall page?), some of you have been recording wildlife and helping us reveal the rich biodiversity of the wood, some of you joined us in urging Natural England to designate the wood as SSSI, many of you have expressed support in person while visiting the wood, and all of you by joining the Friends have encouraged us to keep plugging away until the threat to the wood has gone away. So …. a heartfelt thank you to everyone.

We know that the local and regional Forestry Commission staff are as pleased as we are about this announcement. They are looking forward to re-establishing better relationships with the local community and we are already engaged in this process.

We will be announcing this news via the website, Twitter and Facebook tomorrow.

We also need to consider what the future may be for the Friends of Fineshade. What do you think about this? Our raison d’etre has been to enjoy and protect Fineshade Wood and it may need more protection from other threats in the future.

But while we contemplate what our future role should be, come to Fineshade and enjoy the woods in all their winter glory. (Do wrap up, though!)

Barrie Galpin
One of the Friends of Fineshade