Somerset County Council has now made the decision to sell 3 parcels of land in the Quantock Hills; Over Stowey Custom Common, Thorncombe Hill and Great Wood.
In light of the public concern the leader of Somerset County Council, Ken Maddock, recently met with a number of local groups to discuss the potential effects of the land disposals.
There are 2 main areas of concern for the AONB Service. These include a new owner not willing to enter into a new agri-environment scheme (the current one is due to end September 2012) which could be detrimental to the biodiversity in the area, and secondly an increase in the permitted use of motor vehicles which would cause damage to the sensitive habitats. Somerset County Council has responded to say it will consider covenants on any sale which will cover these concerns.
We are aware that Somerset County Council has open negotiations with the Forestry Commission regarding the freehold of Great Wood (approx 600Ha) which FC currently lease on a 999 year lease. The AONB Service is not adverse to the FC taking over ownership as their aims and objectives are largely in line with the statutory Quantock Hills AONB Management Plan and they have effectively been managing the site for the past 80 years. The AONB Service does not object to Somerset County Councils plans to dispose of these land holdings as long as they are protected into the future. We believe that Somerset County Council are now considering mechanisms which will ensure this protection whoever the owners of the land maybe in the future.
Download our full letter to SCC in response to the sale of land by clicking here
Download SCC's public notice by clicking here
Find out the Quantock Hills AONB Service position on the disposal of land by SCC by clicking here
If you have any queries please contact SCC Property Services on Tel: 01823 355325
Georgie Grant - January 2012-->