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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Thinning Programme: Update March 2013

The thinning works being carried out by Lafarge Tarmac, their new name, have now been completed and it is understood that no further works will be carried out in the Wood under the current licence. Some additional works has been done along the boundary with residential properties and trees have been planted in the area near the main entrance to the Wood off the A51. Some concern has been raised over the general condition of the Wood floor following the felling as a consequence of the very wet ground conditions and the use of heavy vehicles. Tarmac has confirmed that they will be carrying out a small amount of ground reinstatement when ground conditions are more suitable.

Concerns have been raised with Tarmac relating to the fact that the felling has not been carried out in strict accordance with the licence issued by the Forestry Commission. Tarmacs` response to this was that the matter had been referred back to Jim Unwin who is their professional advisor who had acknowledged that he had made an arithmetical error on the table attached to the licence application. Tarmac has discussed this with the Forestry Commission who, in admitting that they had not spotted the error, does not believe that a contravention of the licence intentions has been committed.

With respect to the works proposed by the Ministry of Defence their Regional Head Forester has confirmed that these works have been put on hold until he is satisfied that it would be in the long term interest of the wood as part of an agreed long term management plan.

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Minerals Local Plan

Staffordshire County Council has now considered a report into 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.

Work on a replacement Minerals Local Plan started in 2005 but was deferred in 2009 to allow progress to be made in preparing the Joint Waste Local Plan. The Waste Local Plan is now nearing adoption and work has now recommenced on preparing a new Minerals Local Plan.

The proposed timetable is:

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:   July 2013

Consult on Draft Minerals Local Plan:   November 2013

Representation period on proposed submission (draft):   September 2014

Submission to the Secretary of State:   January 2015

To read the recent report on the matter please visit:

http://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/environment/planning/policy/mineralscorestrategy/home.aspx

 

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Thinning Programme: Update

Tarmac commenced their thinning works at the end of September and the works are due to be completed by the end of November 2012. The thinning works have been focused on the pine section of the wood and there are no proposals to carry out any further thinning across their part of the wood under the current licence which expires in 2017. 

The work that has been done has been based on ensuring that the trees that are retained have a clear canopy relative to other neighbouring trees which gives added light to the wood floor.The wood floor has been affected by the tracks of the heavy vehicles that have had to be used due to the ground conditions and there are large amounts of wood debris. While the overall appearance is unkempt over the next few years natural regeneration and timber decay should provide an improved habitat for wildlife.

As for the MoD`s proposed works the Friends have been informed that any proposed harvesting and thinning works on their part of the Wood have been postponed until their Regional Head Forester is satisfied that the works will be in the long term interest of the woodland, and part of an agreed long term woodland management plan. The Regional Head Forester has agreed to meet the Friends Committee prior to any decisions being taken.

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Judith Marshall

Sadly Judith died in August following an accident while on holiday in Spain. She is sadly missed for she was a dedicated member of the Friends serving on the Committee with commitment and enthusiasm and walked the Woods regularly with her dog. She was an active Parish Councillor and was involved in a large range of village groups giving her all.

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