Anger as historic woodland in Horley chopped down – Updated

Residents have reacted with fury after part of an historic woodland in Horley was chopped down.

The trees, neighbouring Meadowcroft Close and in the vicinity of Meadowcroft House, were felled at the weekend.

Angry residents alerted The Forestry Commission on discovering the devastation. No permits for work have apparently been issued, but a tree preservation order from Reigate and Banstead Borough Council has now been put up at the site.
However, local residents say the damage has already been done.

Maureen Sinclair, who lives nearby, said: “The trees were a wonderful break between us and Gatwick Airport. They support so much wildlife around here; we have small birds we have large birds, we have owls. We have all sort of birds. I think we have bats.”
She added: “I have noticed the noise more, there is more noise from the motorway now than there was before they felled the trees.
“I think it’s such a shame, the whole of this area is being built upon, we just need all the trees we can have to clean up the environment.”

“It’s just a really beautiful wood,” said Sarah Marchant. “It’s packed full of wildlife, we love our wildlife, we have been watching sparrowhawks nesting in it this last year.
“We are absolutely heartbroken.
“The woodland has been completely decimated.”

The land in question has been involved in discussions over the proposed Horley Business Park, but it remains unclear exactly why the trees were felled.

East Surrey MP Claire Coutinho visited the site after residents raised concerns over the destruction of the trees.
In a statement released on Facebook, she said: “This morning I became aware of trees being felled over the weekend in Horley. My team visited the site earlier today to assess the situation and find out more details.
“I understand that the contractors have said it was for the business park, but there are no approved plans for the park at this stage.
“All the works have taken place on one area of about six acres. This is the only land that is not owned by either Surrey County Council or Reigate and Banstead Borough Council. No permissions have been granted or requests received for this work.
“My team has written to RBBC’s enforcement team and their Head of Legal Services to see what action can be taken, and we are awaiting responses. We have also asked that they block any further tree felling on the site.
“I will continue to liaise with local figures.”

Images and video courtesy of Analiese Whittaker

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