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Nervous wait for Pound Hill, Crawley residents as land owner culls woodland next to M23

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Residents in Pound Hill are waiting nervously for a report to be released by the Forestry Commission following a large portion of woodland around Burleys Wood being culled.

The land owner instructed workers over the Christmas period to cut down trees across a large patch of woodland next to the M23.

A popular pathway that runs between the land and land owned by Highways England has seen the tranquil pathway used by residents and dog walkers become opened up to the noise of the motorway.

Residents and councilors rallied round to find out who was responsible and the reasons behind it. It was soon discovered that the land was privately owned and initial reports that it belonged to Crawley Council or Highways England were not true.

One dog walker said:

“I used to allow my dog to run around the forest knowing that the dense nature of it would prevent him from going anywhere near the motorway. Now though what is there to stop him going onto the carriageway?”

Other residents have already complained to both the council and to the Forestry Commission saying that as a result of the trees being removed the noise levels have increased considerably.

Initially there was a lot of confusion over whether the land owner had a license to remove the trees but since an investigation was launched the Forestry Commission and DEFRA has confirmed that no license was provided.

However, they have also made it clear that this does not mean that anything wrong has been undertaken as there are numerous reasons why this could have been done without the need for a license.

It was also pointed out that none of the trees cut down had any protection order on them.

Representatives from the Forestry Commission were seen last week taking measurements and photos of the area in order to provide a report that will be part of an investigation to assess whether any wrong doing had been done.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs clarified that:

“If we find that there is no felling licence or other valid permission is in place, or if the wrong trees are cut down:

  1. All parties involved can be prosecute
  2. The Forestry Commission can, in certain circumstances, serve a Restocking Notice to re-stock the land concerned, or any other land as may be agreed, regardless of whether or not a prosecution takes place
  3. The person served with the notice must maintain the replacement trees to acceptable standards for up to 10 years”

Further details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/report-suspected-illegal-tree-felling and www.gov.uk/guidance/tree-felling-licence-when-you-need-to-apply

For now though residents will have to wait to find out whether the culling of the trees on this private property will be allowed or whether there will be repurcussions.

Community

Crawley council ask if you want the town to continue to have an alcohol PSPO to prevent anti-social behaviour

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It has been mistaken in the past as an order to prohibit the consumption of alcohol in a public place, but the PSPO is in-fact a tool to allow police and council officers to request an individual to stop consuming and to hand over alcohol in their posession in order to prevent nuisance and anti-social behaviour.

The current Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) expires in October this year, 2020.

Now the council is asking residents and business owners in the town whether they want to see another PSPO activated for another three years.

The map shows the boundary the PSPO will cover.

In a release Crawley Council say;

“Crawley Borough Council is proposing to implement a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) under Section 59 Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, designating the area of Crawley edged in blue on the plan referred to in the PSPO as a restricted area for alcohol related anti-social behaviour, for 3 years. The PSPO will be a tool available to the police and council to reduce the impact that alcohol related nuisance and anti-social behaviour has on the community of Crawley.

There is currently an Alcohol PSPO in place which expires in October, this transitioned from a Designed Public Places Order (Consumption of Intoxicating Liquor) in 2017. The Designated Public Places Order had been in place since 2006. The new PSPO would replace the current PSPO when it expires.
The Order will prohibit the consumption of alcohol in a public place where it is associated with nuisance and anti-social behaviour or it is believed it will lead to nuisance and anti-social behaviour. The Order will give the police and authorised council officers the power to request an individual to stop drinking and hand over any open or sealed container(s) believed to contain alcohol. It will be an offence for anyone to engage in the activity prohibited by the PSPO, when asked to stop. Both the police and council officers will be able to enforce the order and issue fixed penalty notices.”

If you would like to support or object to the propsal then you can do so by filling out a short questionnaire by clicking here.

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