Holiday Lodge plans would be ‘ruinous’ for Fineshade Wood

Fineshade campaigner Barrie Galpin and Tom Pursglove
Fineshade campaigner Barrie Galpin and Tom Pursglove

An MP has thrown his weight behind a campaign to prevent the building of a holiday village in one of the county’s finest woods - a plan he describes as bonkers.

Corby and East Northants MP Tom Pursglove visited Fineshade Wood on Friday to see for himself the site where it is expected there will be a renewed bid by Forest Holidays to build dozens of holiday lodges.

Campaigners against the Forest Holidays development at Fineshade Woods

Campaigners against the Forest Holidays development at Fineshade Woods

Forest Holidayshad a previous bid to build their holiday village refusedlast year after a successful campaign by locals.

But recently villagers had word that there could be a second planby the company.

Following his woodland tour, Mr Pursglove said: “It’s frightening to see what’s proposed. The proposal would be ruinous for Fineshade Woods.

“I am determined to do anything I can to make sure it’s rejected. We have got to fight this every step of the way.

Tricia Galpin, Fineshade Wood campaigner

Tricia Galpin, Fineshade Wood campaigner

“I have huge respect for East Northants Council for throwing this out the first time.

“It’s clear to me that errors have been made along the way. This site could never have been said to be suitable for a proposal such as this. There are other areas that are more appropriate.

“They need to walk away from this proposal.”

The scheme has the backing of the Forestry Commission, which manages Fineshade. It says that income from a holiday village could be vital to protect the future of the woodland.

Barrie Galpin of the Friends of Fineshade with MP Tom Pursglove

Barrie Galpin of the Friends of Fineshade with MP Tom Pursglove

Although no proposals are yet on the table, in spring Fineshade Parish Council was visited by PR firm Curtin and Co, representing Forest Holidays.

The company said at the time hat it was ‘early days’ and that they had not yet decided whether to submit a fresh application.

So villagers decided to try to get the forest designated as a site of special scientific interest to protect it.

Locals are expecting a proposal to be submitted by Christmas.

Mr Pursglove added: “When you consider our area is taking more and more homes, we need more amenities, not less.

“We have the neighbourhood planning regime which ministers say is the best defence local communities have against these kind of large plans.

“But Forestry Commission land is exempt from that, which seems like it is driving a coach and horses through the spirit of the regime.

“It makes no sense to have this development here. It’s bonkers.”

Campaigner Tricia Galpin said: “It’s reassuring that Tom is on our side. It’s so wearing to have to go through this again but we will fight it.”