Campaigners’ village green claim in bid to save wood

Aerial view of Smithy Wood

Aerial view of Smithy Wood

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Environmental campaigners and residents have taken another step in their efforts to save acres of woodland.

Smithy Wood, near Chapeltown, faces being chopped down to make way for a proposed £20 million service station at junction 35 of the M1.

But now Cowley Residents Action Group has submitted an application to have the woodland officially recognised as a village green - which would protect the area from development.

The Woodland Trust, which is campaigning alongside the residents group, is now appealing for people with memories, stories and photographs of Smithy Wood to come forward so a dossier of evidence can be put together.

To be successful, campaigners need to prove the wood has been regularly used by locals over the last 20 years.

Jean Howe, chair of the action group, said: “Not only is Smithy Wood ancient and vital to protect as an irreplaceable habitat, it’s also a wood of great importance to our local community.

“To lose so much would leave a huge hole in our local environment as well as adding to the growing list of irreplaceable habitats being threatened across our area. It’s just not something we’re willing to let happen without a fight.”

It is expected a decision on the village green application will be made in around six weeks. The method was previously used to rescue a wood in South East Essex.

Developers Extra Motorway Service Area say there is a need for services at the spot because drivers currently travel up to 42 miles on the M1 stretch without being able to stop.

Visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/campaigning to submit evidence.