Report of Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting was held on Wednesday 20th. April. Thank you to those members who sent in their apologies. There was a disappointing attendance particularly as the speakers were from the Ministry of Defence (MoD). That said the presentation was both interesting and informative. The MoD have been installing signage and flags in the Wood to warn the public that firing may be in progress on the ranges and access to the Wood will be prohibited. The work should have been completed by the end of April but due to weather and other operating issues the work will not now be completed until the end of the May. Because of limited training facilities access to the MoD part of the Wood will be closed at least two weekends a month and is likely to be used two or three times each week. Every effort is being made to make sure that the public are aware of when the closures will take place through public notices, the Village Voice and notification to individuals via email. If you wish to be notified send your email address to DIOSDTrg-WWSwynnertonTSO@mod.uk. 
 
The Wigginton and Hopwas Parish Council have produced the Wigginton, Hopwas and Comberford Neighbourhood Area which has now been examined and found to be sound and will shortly be subject of a referendum to accept the Plan and if more than 50% vote `Yes` the Plan will be adopted. Importantly for the Friends there is a policy to protect the Wood in perpetuity as ancient woodland which will be a key policy consideration should any development proposals be submitted to the Planning Authority.
 
As reported in the recent newsletter, Tarmac has been acquired by an Irish building company CRH plc. Having enquired of Tarmac as to what CRHs position is on the Wood they have stated that nothing specific has been considered to date and that this is unlikely to change in the near future. This will be closely monitored. The current state of Tarmacs landholding at Hopwas remains unchanged.
 
The current Committee was elected for another year and the subscriptions remain the same i.e. £5, which will be collected in September. The number of members currently stands at 103. If anyone has any queries please do not hesitate to contact the Chairman at rayvanstone@btinternet.com. 
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Annual General Meeting 20th. April 2016

The Annual General Meeting will be held on Wednesday 20th. April 2016 at the Coton and Hopwas Social Club, School Lane, Hopwas commencing at 7.30 p.m. The meeting will commence with a talk by a representative of the Ministry of Defence and the business part of the meeting will follow. Further details are in the April Newsletter which will distributed by the end of March.
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Bridleway Closure

On Monday 26th. October there will an emergency closure of the bridleways that run through Hopwas Wood from Wood Bridge through to Whittington. The bridleway from Hopwas Hill will also be closed at the Tarmac/MoD boundary. This will be effective for 21 days and in the meantime a temporary closure order will be made, closing the bridleways for a period of 18 weeks, which will be advertised in the local paper. The closures are to facilitate work on the firing ranges and improving the bridleways through the wood so that they can be used by military vehicles. This will necessitate the removal and cutting back of some trees either side of the bridleways and the surface of the bridleways will be stoned such that they are suitable for horses to use.Work is also being carried out to repair/reinstate the fence between Tarmacs land and the MoD, which the MoD should have done when the land transfer took place a few years ago
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AGM 2015

The latest newsletter is now ready to view on the Newsletter page. All members should have received a Newsletter, but if anyone has not, please contact the Chairman so we can check our records are up to date. Importantly the Newsletter gives notice of the Annual General Meeting which will be on Tuesday 14 April 2015 commencing at 7.30 p.m. at the Coton and Hopwas Social Club, School Lane, Hopwas. There will be a talk by a member of the Woodland Trust about ancient woodland. Non-members are welcome to attend but will have no voting rights during the business part of the meeting.
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Lafarge Tarmac withdraws Hopwas Woods from Minerals Local Plan 30/10/2014

Lafarge Tarmac has asked Staffordshire County Council to withdraw Hopwas Woods from the Minerals Local Plan, which is currently under public consultation. Stuart Wykes, Director of Land and Natural Resources, Lafarge Tarmac said: "Following dialogue with stakeholders and partners we have asked Staffordshire County Council to withdraw the Hopwas Woods proposal from the Minerals Local Plan. We pride ourselves on working in harmony with local communities and want to do so at Hopwas” "We want to work with local stakeholders on the stewardship of Hopwas Woods and we are willing to fund an independent study on its long term sustainability. This could include issues such as public access and environmental protection” "We are committed to managing and enhancing the local habitat everywhere we operate. We did not have firm plans to develop Hopwas but intended to use the public consultation on the Minerals Local Plan as an opportunity for dialogue to agree a way forward”
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Woods under Threat

LaFarge Tarmac are trying to put part of Hopwas Wood into the Minerals Local Plan for Staffordshire.
Please read the October newsletter for more information and how to object to the proposal.
We are in contact with the Woodland Trust and local politicians and will be meeting with Staffordshire County Council in due course.
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AGM update

The AGM was held on Wednesday 14th. May at which some 24 Members attended. The current Committee was re-elected for another year and it was agreed that the subscription for 2014/15 should be £5 which will be collected in September. The meeting was informed that the consultation into the Minerals Local Plan commenced on 12th. May and that Hopwas Wood was not listed as a proposed site for the extraction of sand and gravel. Comments on the Plan need to be made by 4th. July. Concern was raised over the drop in member numbers and that letters had been delivered to households in Hopwas outlining the activities of the Friends. Following the business part of the meeting Derek Crawley from the Staffordshire Mammal Group gave a very interesting talk and presentation covering the changes that have occurred over the last 50 years as to what animals and birds we can now see around us.
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AGM 2014

The latest newsletter is now available which includes notification of the Annual General Meeting which will be our 10th Anniversary. The AGM will be on Wednesday 14 May 2014 at the Coton and Hopwas Social Club commencing at 8 p.m. Following the business part of the meeting there will be a talk by Derek Crawley from the Staffordshire Mammal Group who was our first speaker in 2006. There is a consultation pending on the Draft Minerals local Plan which be discussed at the AGM as well as updates on activities affecting the Wood including progress on the Neighbourhood Plan.
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Minerals Local Plan September 2013

Staffordshire County Council has now commenced the preparation of a new Minerals Local Plan. The new Plan, when adopted, will replace their current plan. The new Plan will set out the vision, objectives and spatial strategy for future mineral related development within Staffordshire over the next 15 years. The current timetable is as follows:  
Prepare the Local Aggregate Assessment, the Statement of Community Involvement and the Scoping Report March to June 2013
Notify key participants on commencement of Plan (Reg. 18) July 2013
Consult on Draft Plan (Reg. 18) November 2013
Consult on Proposed Submission Draft Plan (Reg.19) September 2014
Submit Plan for examination to the Secretary of State January 2015
Adopt the Plan (Reg.26) January 2016
This will be a key area that the Committee will be involved with and if you want to keep up-to-date with the situation please visit: http://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/environment/planning/policy/mineralscorestrategy/home.aspx
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Neighbourhood Plan September 2013

Wigginton and Hopwas Parish Council have decided to develop a Neighbourhood Plan for the parish, which will give local people more say on planning decisions and carries statutory weight.  Lichfield District Council has now designated the Parish as a Neighbourhood Plan area.  A Steering group has now been established and the Friends Chairman is a member of the Group.
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