Popular Ascot woodland 'to be protected'

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Every effort will be made to protect a popular woodland in Ascot when it is sold, the local council has promised.

The 4.3 acre (1.77 hectare) Berkshire site, off Woodlands Ride by the council-owned Allens Field, is expected to fetch up to £500,000 at auction.

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead wants to have it designated as a public right of way.

It said: "Long-established public access must be maintained, irrespective of land ownership."

The land is heavily-wooded and is already covered by an area tree protection order.

'Incorrect assumption'

Allens Field next to the woodland is used as public open space and registered as a Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (Sang).

Councillor Michael John Saunders, cabinet member for planning and property, said: "Local people have been using this woodland for many years for dog walking and recreation.

"Because it runs alongside Allens Field, there has been the general - but incorrect - assumption that it is council-owned.

"Unfortunately, despite the long-time public use, there are no protected rights of way and residents are very worried that such a popular piece of open space in their community could be threatened by the sale.

"That's why we want to take action on their behalf and are pursuing all avenues to ensure that the amenity remains open and free for the public.

"We will leave no stone unturned to help protect residents' uninterrupted access to this important woodland."

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