7th December 2016
Support needed to save nearly 200 trees in 800-year old deer park
The Ancient Tree Forum is backing a campaign to save the last remnant of a medieval deer park from being turned into a housing development. ATF’s supporters are urged to register their opposition to the development.
The planning application for 227 houses in Aldermaston Park near Reading, which has caused local uproar, would see the loss of more than 180 trees (60% of the trees in the application area), some of which are hundreds of years old. The damage to this important wildlife habitat and nationally important historic parkland is being justified on the basis that it will ensure the remainder of the habitat can be adequately managed. The site is Grade two listed on the National Heritage List for England’s Register of Parks and Gardens.
Aldermaston Park is a 140 acre estate which was bought in 2014 for £4.7m by Praxis Holdings Limited, a property investment company based in the Isle of Man. The planning proposal will take up 15% of the site and the Woodland Trust is calling for the application to be turned down based on the scale of habitat loss and damage in the deer park. In addition to the loss of the trees threatened with removal, it is believed that hundreds more will see their habitat damaged, fragmented or lost.
Jill Butler, Woodland Trust Ancient Tree Specialist, said ‘This is an unprecedented planning application in terms of the devastating impact on an historic wood pasture and parkland, which is an incredibly valuable wildlife habitat. And to say that the remaining fraction of deer park can only be managed properly by first building houses is a complete contradiction. We urge people to support us in opposing this application.’
Wood pasture and parkland of this quality is nationally important historically and culturally. It may derive from medieval hunting forests, or from wooded commons. Others are designed landscapes, often associated with big estates dating from the 16th century. Part of the great hunting forest that the Saxon kings and William the Conqueror called Windsor Forest; Aldermaston was first recorded in 1202.
Anyone opposing this planning application is encouraged to register their opposition to the development – and if possible to state that they are Ancient Tree Forum supporters.