THE Woodland Trust has launched a campaign to save trees in Aldermaston’s historic grounds from being bulldozed.
The UK’s largest woodland conservation charity is calling on people to oppose Praxis’ plans for 227 homes in Aldermaston Park, which it said would have a devastating impact on local wildlife.
The scheme would see the homes that would be constructed to fund the restoration of the 19th-century manor house, built on the last remnant of a medieval deer park.
Once part of the great hunting forest that the Saxon kings and William the Conqueror called Windsor Forest, Aldermaston was first recorded on maps in 1202.
Under the plans, more than 180 trees (60 per cent of those in the application area), some of which are centuries old, would be lost.
The development would take up 15 per cent of the site and the Woodland Trust has objected because of the “scale of habitat loss and damage in the deer park”.
Praxis was asked to comment on the campaign but did not respond as the Newbury Weekly News went to press.
The developer has said that its scheme is the best option to secure and restore the historic buildings and at-risk parkland.
However, the Woodland Trust said it was a “complete contradiction” to justify damaging the “important wildlife habitat and nationally important historic parkland” as the only way to manage the remaining habitat.
Woodland Trust ancient tree specialist Jill Butler said: “This is an unprecedented planning application in terms of the devastating impact on an historic wood pasture and parkland, which is an incredibly valuable wildlife habitat.
“And to say that the remaining fraction of deer park can only be managed properly by first building houses on it is a complete contradiction.
“We urge people to support us in opposing this application.”
The Woodland Trust has been compiling information on individual trees, with more than 155,000 ancient and veteran tree records on its Ancient Tree Inventory.
For more on the campaign and the trust visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk