Peak District authority puts woodland up for sale

Slack Hall Wood Image copyright Melissa Kemp/Woodland Trust
Image caption The Peak District National Park Authority has lost nearly 40% of its grant funding in the last five years

A dozen areas of woodland in the Peak District are to be sold off, with the first six already on the market.

Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA) said it was "reducing liabilities" at a time of budget cuts.

It said the areas were small and would be sold with restrictions on their use - and a similar number would be sold later in the year.

The Woodland Trust said it would monitor the situation closely to make sure safeguards were in place.

All national parks have been facing large cuts in grants - the PDNPA has lost £3.5m in funding since 2010 - a cut of 36.5%.

Woodlands for sale

  • Coronation Plantation, Leadmill, near Hathersage, Derbyshire - 2.8 acres (1.14ha)
  • Nabb's Quarry Wood, Wildboarclough area, Cheshire - 1.1 acres (0.44ha)
  • Newhaven Plantation, Newhaven, Derbyshire on A515 - 4.4 acres (1.8ha)
  • Shay Bends Wood, on A623 Baslow to Calver road, Derbyshire - 2.0 acres (0.8ha)
  • Slack Hall Wood, near Chapel-en-le-Frith on road to Winnats Pass, Derbyshire - 7.7 acres (3.1ha)
  • Wetton Wood, above village of Wetton, North Staffordshire - 0.4 acres (0.16ha)

Jane Chapman, assistant director at the authority, said: "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.

"The sales will allow us to focus on the protection, improvement and maintenance of our remaining woodlands.''

Norman Starks, UK Operations Director of Woodland Trust, said: "We are looking carefully at the conditions of sale, to ensure full and proper safeguards are in place so that any changes in land use or access rights for these sites will be restricted."

He said the woodlands would remain subject to the usual planning regulations that applied to national parks.

The PDNPA currently manages 120 woodlands, covering approximately 443 hectares of land.

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