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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

Covid-19: Crawley businesses come together to support the local community

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Local businesses in Crawley have come together to provide vital support to Crawley Borough Council’s community food supply aid efforts.  

Late last week, Councillor Peter Lamb, with the help of BBC Sussex, Steve Sawyer from Manor Royal BID and Reverend Steve Burston from St John’s Church, sent out a call for help from businesses who were able to assist with the coordination of a distribution centre by providing access to forklift vehicles, pallet trucks and by donating supplies of cardboard boxes and food, as well as offering staff time.

A number of businesses responded, including:

  • Gatwick Forklifts – 12 pallet trucks, vans and an articulated lorry
  • Viridor – forklift, skips and pallet trucks
  • Transvalair – forklifts, pallet trucks and distribution vehicles
  • Tesco.com – supply of cardboard boxes
  • DHL – cardboard boxes
  • M&S Food Hall, Acorn Retail Park – cardboard boxes and surplus food
  • Higgidy Ltd – cardboard boxes
  • UK Harvest50 crates of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Gatwick Handling – forklift and pallet trucks and picked up the goods from Aldi
  • Sussex Camper Vans – van for cardboard box delivery.

The council is very grateful to the ALDI store in Acorn Retail Park, with whom it has partnered to provide basic and essential food supplies for the town’s most vulnerable residents.

Managed by council staff and contractors, the distribution hub will receive and manage food and other essential items from suppliers, action requests from the Help Hub team, pick and pack items and deliver parcels directly to people in their homes.

The Help Hub is a single point of contact for vulnerable residents, connecting them with help from council teams or the wide range of voluntary and charitable activity in the town. They will also support community pharmacies to directly deliver medical supplies where needed and call our most vulnerable residents to check on them.

Leader of the council, Councillor Peter Lamb, said:

“I am extremely grateful for the support of all the local businesses, who have donated their time and resources in assisting us in setting up the distribution hub.

“It is vital we that we support our most vulnerable residents during this difficult time and the distribution hub will ensure they can stay safe inside their homes and have access to the supplies they need.”

Executive Director of Manor Royal Business District, Steve Sawyer, said:

“It’s never been more important for us to pull together as a town. The council is doing a great job supporting our most vulnerable and it was brilliant to see how willingly Manor Royal companies stepped up when called on for help.”

Reverend Steve Burston from St John’s Church said:

“We are in strange and trying times, but the way businesses and volunteers from charities and Crawley Borough Council have joined together so quickly has been a great example of how our local community comes together to love our neighbours – we will need that love in the coming weeks.

“Thank you to Dan at Sussex Camper Vans for the use of a van, to our #LoveYourNeighbour volunteers who picked up the boxes, to James at Higgidy Ltd for thousands of boxes and for the amazing Crawley Borough Council team at K2 Crawley.”

If you are vulnerable and need assistance, please call 01293 438000 between 8.30am-5pm. Alternatively, you can email or complete an e-form

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