Ore Community Land Trust members, supporters and local councillors attended the Trust’s Annual General Meeting on Saturday 13th June and celebrated the final stage in the successful 10 year campaign to save Speckled Wood.
The recent publication of the Planning Inspector’s final recommendations for the Hastings Development Management Plan have confirmed that almost all of Speckled Wood in the Upper Ore Valley will now become protected urban green space.
In what is without doubt a very enlightened assessment, the Planning Inspector’s report recognises the importance of this woodland valley as an attractive and tranquil area of natural beauty and the how much it is valued by the local community. He has gone further than the Borough Council’s allocation of green space and he has stated that the value of retaining this open land for the community outweighs its previous allocated use for housing development.
They heard that the Planning Inspector was influenced by the Trust’s plans to protect animal habitats, to create a small Village Green with disabled access and a children’s play area and to set up a community food growing project by reinstating disused allotments.
However, the well attended meeting was told that the Trust must now recruit more committee members to take on this new role and more volunteers to take on the footpath clearance and woodland management. It will soon be applying for funding to develop into an organisation focused on acquiring land and working on a long term plan to enhance the woodland and provide new community amenities. Discussions are underway with Hastings Borough Council about how the two organisations can work together to transform Speckled Wood into an even more valuable community asset.
After the AGM, landscape architect, Jeremy Linden, who has been working with Ore Community Land Trust gave a presentation on the Village Green and the Ore Valley Greenway projects.
Ian Sier, of Ore Community land Trust, said “This AGM marks the successful conclusion of our primary aim
to save Speckled Wood and avoid another area of valuable urban green space being lost to development. It is the result of a sustained campaign supported by individuals, organisations and local councillors and of having a clear vision for how this woodland can be enhanced and provide so much more for residents of Ore and the surrounding area
We must now get on with the challenge of obtaining funding, acquiring the land, which is in multiple ownership. We will continue to involve all sections of the local community in how it is enhanced and managed to preserve the woodland habitat while providing new facilities such as a Village Green for Ore – our first project”.
Anyone who supports the campaign and the aims of Ore Community Land Trust is encouraged to become a member and get involved in the next stage of our work. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to Ore CLT, Ore Centre, 455 Old London Road, Hastings, TN35 5BH.
Hastings Development Management Plan
Extract from – Planning Inspectors Final Report May 2015
Focus Area 12 – Clive Vale & Ore Village
121. The 2 sites identified, CVO1 and CVO3, should be kept in their open state and the Trust encouraged to manage and enhance this local community asset.