Fineshade Woods cabins ‘will be a money-spinner’

Niall Rudd, Shenagh Hackett, Paul Hackett and Patricia Rudd at a consultation event at Fineshade Woods

Niall Rudd, Shenagh Hackett, Paul Hackett and Patricia Rudd at a consultation event at Fineshade Woods

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The company planning to build 70 timber lodges in Fineshade Woods says it will have social, economic and environmental benefits.

Forest Holidays, a joint venture with the Forestry Commission, wants to build the holiday cabins at Fineshade Woods, near Corby.

Campaigners say if the multi-million pound venture goes ahead it will threaten wildlife habits and spoil the beauty of the woodland.

The company says the development would help safeguard the wood, boost the local economy and create jobs.

A Forest Holidays spokesman said: “Economic benefits of the proposal are numerous and significant.

“Each cabin is anticipated to generate around £24,000 per annum into the local economy as a result of the guests using and purchasing from local facilities and services.

“Experience shows that Forest Holidays sites become part of the local community by generating about 19 full-time and 40 part-time jobs.

“Once operational the site will pay more than £200,000 rent to the local Forestry Commission district to fund the public forest.”

Residents of Fineshade, who are opposing the scheme, say the cabin sites are surrounded by ancient woodland and claim they will harm bird, bat and badger habitats.

The company spokesman said: “A woodland management plan is being prepared which will ensure that the woodland itself and trails and paths will be managed to ensure the health and vitality of the forest for future generations.

“Running in tandem with the woodland management plan is an ecological enhancement plan which will strengthen the existing habitat and recorded species, further expanding and diversifying the range of species within the forest.”

As well as the timber cabins, the 76-acre site would include a visitor retreat building which would also be the reception area, a shop, cafe, children’s play area and management accommodation.

The spokesman said: “We will continue to engage with local residents, the parish council and East Northamptonshire Council.

“Neighbouring land owners will be briefed as will local attractions and engagement will be undertaken with both local and county interest groups and societies.

“Once feedback is received, we will accommodate suggestions for improvement and revise the proposals accordingly.”

An application for planning permission for the cabins has not yet been lodged with East Northants Council.