Wealden District Council has approved plans for cabins to be provided at Wilderness Wood, Hadlow Down.
Nine will be for visiting volunteers, four for apprentices and two for shower and lavatory facilities plus space for office and teaching areas.
The council also approved replacement workshops, a gazebo for ceremonies and extended temporary permission for an existing marquee and forestry building.
One condition of the the approval was that all buildings should be used for purposes “ancillary to the operation of Wilderness Wood as a forestry, educational, tourist and leisure facility” and not be used for separate hire or private functions unrelated to the operation of the Wood, except for six event in one year (all finishing by 10pm).
Our original story on October 15:
Plans for 13 cabins along with improved workshop, teaching and office spaces at Wilderness Wood, Hadlow Down, have been described as ‘madness’.
The plans have been recommended for approval by Wealden councillors on Thursday, October 22, but one objector says: “The impact on local amenities, wildlife, domestic animals and the residents’ quality of life will be totally unacceptable, this application looks to put 50 plus permanent, non-local residents in this small wood, it’s madness.”
Another says: “The current ‘walking parties’ or so called ‘educational activities’ appear to involve coachloads of suburban feral children, bussed in and released into the woods for most of the day to scream and shout and make as much noise as possible with absolutely no regard for the tranquil environment or the wildlife, this seems to happen even at weekends.”
A report going to Wealden Council’s planning committee north says the cabins would be removable and used by volunteers, course participants, visitors and apprentices for 11 months of the year.
The report describes the application as well-supported and says it will support and develop existing operations at an established site which offers “unique and important facilities to the rural tourism offer”.
The report goes on to say: “The scheme has drawn objection because of noise and disturbance. Evidence is that the major cause of this noise are the functions/events and the applicant has committed to mitigating the effect of these with controlling conditions.
“Whilst there are concerns raised about people and children using the woodland, this is lawful and it is difficult to see how it would be worsened as a result of the scheme.
“Fundamentally, any activity which generates a nuisance can be abated under other powers available to the council.”
Hadlow Down Parish Council has objected to the size and scale of the development and unacceptable noise affecting neighbours.
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