When ELF is approached by a community looking for assistance, often ELF will remain involved with that community for a long while, seeing out a relationship that sometimes lasts for years.
The next story is one of attrition, waged by a single individual on the woods that many in Glossop had grown up knowing to be their community woods, where children had roamed free for decades. Until this local person started trying to take possession of the woods for their own personal gain. After years of onslaught, fencing put up, trees removed without permission, various planning applications local people become so fed up that direct action was taken and the Woodlings occupied the wood. ELF was able to find the group assistance through the generosity of Constance Bell at Kings Chambers in Manchester.
This is an update from the Woodlings:-
Over the past few months, the Adverse Possessor (AP) still emboldened and showboating regarding his ‘success’ at court last January had approached the council making demands and requesting permission to remove several saplings we planted. He had done this in the past and after petitioning the local community the permission was refused, but apart from the refusal, no other comment or guidance was included.
As you know the Woods has the protection of a Tree Preservation Order/Local Green Space and is designated a conservation area and the council’s response to the AP this time is a much more assertive and resounding ‘no’ together with a comprehensive document explaining why.
The review emphasizes the fact that the Woods is protected, it should and can only be treated as such, a public amenity and the council will not consider any request that has an impact on the flora and fauna unless an accredited woodlands management plan is submitted and that plan should include public access, for the Woods to be enjoyed as a local amenity for the public to access, whomsoever might own/possess the land.
OK this doesn’t give us possession (we’re still working on that and thanks again for your help) but the review published by the council does address the core issue – public access.
ELF has recently referred this matter to Peter Scott, long-time friend and ELF solicitor member and he has been helping the Woodlings to explore the title with a view to review what documents exist for a legal opinion on whether it is possible to identify the current owner(s) of the George Street Wood site with sufficient confidence for them to approach the Land Registry and register the site. And so we go on.