“Save Stoke Park” Rob begs PM

Stoke park woods

Fair Oak resident Robert Byrne has written to prime minster David Cameron asking him to intercede in plans which could see Stoke Park wood sold off to a private company.

Local walkers and nature lovers throughout the UK have been left reeling by news that the government plans to privatise the Forestry Commission who manage the 244 acres of well loved community woodland located at the heart of Bishopstoke and Fair Oak.

The government currently subsidises the Forestry Commission by £30 million a year. However under EU rules state monopolies and government subsidies are not allowed which means publically funded businesses like the Royal Mail and the Forestry Commission have to go open tender with the possibility that British woodland heritage sites could end up being owned by private foreign companies.

The government are also keen to cut funding to public bodies in order to slash the budget deficit.

Forestry Commission sites will be disposed of in two tranches. The identity of the sites to be sold in the first tranche in 2011 – 2012 has already been decided by The Department for Environment, but details have yet to be published. DEFRA are able to sell off 15% of the Forestry Commission without legislation but the remaining 85% will be disposed of after a consultation which was launched last week.

Click here to take part in the public consultation.

Guarantees of access will depend on the outcome of the consultation.

Campaigners fear the wide-scale forest sell-off will see them shut out of some woods and that private owners will not allow the public full access

The woodland Trust says it is particularly concerned about the fate of England’s ancient woodland. Although Government say they will be protected the Trust says

“We have grave doubts about this in practice.”

Click here to sign their petition.

Robert Byrne has made a short video film about Stoke Park Wood which has had almost 3000 views on YouTube – he has emailed a link to David Cameron, Eastleigh’s MP Chris Huhne and council leader Keith House so they can see exactly what is at stake

Mr Byrne told Eastleigh News:

“It’s exactly the small patches of woodland like Stoke Park, Creech Wood – which are important perhaps only to local residents – that could slip through the safety net and end up with only the barest and most restricted public access, with logging activities increased.”

The government will offer ‘First refusal’ to charitable trusts and local government bodies prepared to buy or lease local woods in order to ensure they remain in the public domain.

However hedge end councillor Keith Day has written on a BBC blog ‘Henleys Hustings’ that support from local government to preserve the New Forest was in his opinion, ‘not likely’.

Local activist Matthew ‘Save Sid’ Myatt who led a well publicised campaign to try and prevent the council from felling a protected tree on Leigh Road Rec reacted angrily to news of the sell-off saying:

“We are not the owners of the woods we are just trustees entrusted to protect them for future generations – once they are gone they can never be replaced”


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  15 comments for ““Save Stoke Park” Rob begs PM

  1. February 2, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Its not the speed of the tory run coalition but what was not in their manifesto we should worry about.

    EBC does not have a good record in this as they approved planning permission to build on the oldest orchard in Eastleigh, this means all the 105 trees including 6 Oak trees were to be dug up for wealthy homes.

    but the big point here is the loss of the funding for the mount from the NHS, we had assurances that this money would be split equally between Winchester, Southampton and Eastleigh and despite lib dem assurances in the Daily echo in 2004 Eastleigh has clearly lost out.

    Thats why you cant trust the local lib dems and their MP Chris Huhne, nothing was in their manifesto to sell off hampshire woodland such as the Alice Holt forest which i believe is first and left Stoke Park Woods in such a vulnerable position.

    February 2, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Stoke Park Woods had better not be privatized or I predict LibDem heads will roll!

  3. Anne Romaine
    February 2, 2011 at 10:43 am

    The Lib Dems who helped elect Chris Huhne should be hanging their heads in shame for allowing Stoke Park Woods to be put in danger like this.
    There’s a petition against the sale of forests and woodland on http://www.campaignengineroom.org.uk/this-land-is-our-land

  4. davo
    February 2, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    now we know where them 6000 houses are going

  5. February 2, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    now we know where them 6000 houses are going  


    You have no idea how close to the truth you are.

    As for Councillor Brian Norgate, I am a little suprised at his comments and concerns about tree’s when it is the ELAC committee that he is on who have not replanted the three tree’s that were meant to replace Sid..!!

    Something I had to point out to him and his fellow members at the last ELAC meeting.

    • February 2, 2011 at 3:41 pm


      I as a councillor have always fought for the trees that have been promised by the lib dems but never materialised such as Chamberlayne road and the Newtown road areas

      The point is the 105 oldest trees in the Orchard at the mount hospital could have been saved but the Lib dems allowed them into the planning brief, regardless that the orchard is 170 years old and still fruit bearing. two wildlife experts said it was vandalism to a place that is irreplacable.

      as a member of Greenpeace for many years i have always wanted to preserve what we have

      I am sure that Cllr Thomas said this work was completed at an earlier ELAC and i was surprissed by your comments on the night but thats another lib dem let down

      • February 2, 2011 at 9:28 pm

        Well I can assure you Brain and your fellow members of the ELAC that this work has not been carried out and I was supprised that I had to bring it to your attention 3 years after the event.. Did you not follow this up yourself or did you just take the Lib Dems word for it.??

  6. Peter Jones
    February 3, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Davo,You have no idea how close to the truth you are. As for Councillor Brian Norgate, I am a little suprised at his comments and concerns about tree’s when it is the ELAC committee that he is on who have not replanted the three tree’s that were meant to replace Sid..!!Something I had to point out to him and his fellow members at the last ELAC meeting.  (Quote)

    You reasonably beleive they will demolish this woodland to make way for the houses that Eastleigh plan to build…..?

  7. davo
    February 3, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    You reasonably beleive they will demolish this woodland to make way for the houses that Eastleigh plan to build…..?  

    they tried to build houses on grantam green

  8. Peter Jones
    February 3, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    they tried to build houses on grantam green  (Quote)

    What stopped them?

  9. davo
    February 3, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    What stopped them?  

    they had to run for it.people where shouting ‘we know where you live’

  10. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    February 3, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    I don’t think Peter is familiar with the ‘Battle of Grantham Green’.
    In July 2006 some of the local councillors agreed to meet with protestors against plans to build blocks of flats on Grantham Green.
    The meeting was to take place on the green itself but when the councillors arrived, instead of the usual handful of serial moaners and anoraks there was a sizeable crowd – some sporting tattoos and mastiffs.
    As the crowd pressed round,there followed a ‘Frank and Robust’ exchange of views. The councillors then wisely decided they should leave.
    They were pursued by the crowd.
    In the melee, a girl may have been shoved aside.
    A complaint was received by the Police and an arrest was made.
    Duncan Eaton supplies the outcome:
    Plans for the development were then dropped and some lickspittle or other had a letter published in the Echo praising the Lib Dems for ‘listening to the people’.
    Though true enough I guess. If you turn up mob handed and catch them ouside their comfort zone, you could influence their vote…but if there is just you plus one other stood in front of the planning committe outlining an objection then they will just patronise you and laugh in your face.

    • February 3, 2011 at 9:25 pm

      serial moaner and anorak..!! Is that what I am eh..?? And whats wrong with tattoos and mastiffs..?? Is this site an anti tattoo, mastiff, anorak and moaner site now..??

      Matthew ‘Save Sid’ ‘serial moaner and anorak’ Myatt.

      • mm
        Eastleigh Xpress
        February 3, 2011 at 9:26 pm

        No. Long live the mob!

  11. Peter Jones
    February 4, 2011 at 8:29 am

    I thought they were still going to use N/NE Hedge End, but instead of 6000 it was going to be 2000/2500. The original site was only capable of building 4000 and with Winchesters land mass now removed from the equation it would leave enough land for the reduced figure. Botley have said they want 500/1000 homes over a decade so there is identified local need, let alone the requirement from PUSH and EBC.

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