A tree preservation order has been placed on a patch of ancient woodland even though the owner said he hadn’t felled a single tree in 60 years.
An order for the Ash Wood site, in Star Road, Partridge Green, was confirmed by Horsham District Council’s planning committee at a meeting on Tuesday (September 17).
The site is believed to have been woodland since 1600 and officers said it needed ‘appropriate protection’.
But landowner Mr Mills felt the order was unnecessary.
Mr Mills said: “I’m joint owner of the land with my brother. The land has been in our ownership since 1959. We haven’t felled a single tree in that time.”
He added that the only problem he and his brother had had when it came to managing Ash Wood was that, even though it was private land with no public footpaths, residents would often wander through.
Mr Mills said: “We’re now in touch with the Woodland Trust to seek advice on the best way forward with the management of the woodland.
“We have no plans to develop Ash Wood in any shape or form and, as it’s already been designated as ancient woodland, we feel it’s unnecessary to add a tree preservation order.”
Jonathan Chowen (Con, Cowfold, Shermanbury & West Grinstead) said the land was ‘hugely important to the character of the village’.
Acknowledging that it was ‘well-used’ by residents, he said it would be nice if it could be made more available to them so that it could be better used.
Supporting the order, Mr Chowen added: “It’s a very precious site, it is ancient woodland and it certainly needs as much protection as possible.”
Also approved at the meeting were applications to demolish a farm building at Heathenthorn Farm, Albourne, and replace it with a single-storey house; and to build two agricultural buildings at Besley Farm, Watersfield.