The Peak District National Park Authority has announced the sale of six of its woodland properties, with a similar number of additional sales later in the year.
Land sales have already gone ahead in the cash-strapped Yorkshire Dales and Lake District National Parks - the latter proving particularly controversial (see UKH news here). The Peak District sell-off aims to help offset a budget squeeze in the short term, after the Park's grant from central Government was slashed by 40% in recent years.
Putting a positive face on it, Jane Chapman, assistant director at the Peak District National Park Authority, said:
'Following a review of our properties, we have identified six woodlands to be sold now, with a similar number to follow later in the year.'
'Having established or improved these woods – often by reclaiming former rubbish tips or quarry sites - then protected and maintained them over many years, we have fulfilled our primary objective as a national park. We now want to return these natural assets to the community, as we are reducing our liabilities at a time of budget reductions and would like to make the best possible use of the resources we have.'
'The sales will allow us to focus on the protection, improvement and maintenance of our remaining woodlands.'
Of the 120 woodlands currently managed by the National Park (totalling some 443 hectares) the first six up for sale are:
- Coronation Plantation, Leadmill, nr Hathersage (1.14 hectares) Bought in early 1970s by what was then the Peak Park Joint Planning Board to ‘maintain landscape stability’.
- Nabb's Quarry Wood, Wildboarclough area of SW Peaks (0.44ha) Reclaimed from quarry land in early 1970s.
- Newhaven Plantation, Newhaven on A515 (1.8ha) Bought in 2005, partially felled and replanted.
- Shay Bends Wood, on A623 Baslow to Calver road (0.8ha) Woodland on banks of River Derwent.
- Slack Hall Wood, nr Chapel-en-le-Frith on road to Winnats Pass (3.1ha) Recent cutting completed at roadside site to pre-empt future traffic issues.
- Wetton Wood, above village of Wetton, North Staffs (0.16ha) Former rubbish tip, now walled and established broadleaf and conifer woodland.