4:00pm Monday 24th February 2014
By Alex Bysouth
STORM damage to Delamere Forest would have put potential holiday-makers in ‘grave danger’, according to campaigners opposing the development of 70 luxury cabins.
Campaign group Communities Against Delamere’s Destruction (CADD) are against plans to provide a replacement visitor centre and construct 70 luxury holiday cabins at the northern end of the forest.
Fallen trees caused by the high winds resulted in the Forestry Commission closing Delamere Forest for several days last week and CADD fear ‘disaster’ should a similar storm happen once visitors are present.
Lead campaigner Nigel Gilding said: “If holiday-makers had been in lodges on Wednesday evening, the likelihood is there would have been some very serious consequences for property or life in Delamere.
“The mix of trees coming down in Kingswood coupled with the remoteness of the site for emergency response could have resulted in a disaster that doesn’t bear thinking about.”
CADD members photographed fallen trees in the aftermath and believe the chances of serious injury or death would be ‘very high indeed’ had the lodges been occupied.
“Our observations and warnings are justified by the fact the Forestry Commission chose to close the forest afterwards,” added Mr Gilding.
“It is difficult to see how this development can tick the boxes on health and safety grounds – surely the application, that would have put 400 people in grave danger, should now be withdrawn.”
The proposals were put forward by Forest Holidays and the Forestry Commission and backed by Cheshire West and Chester Council.
Clr Keith Butcher, who voted in favour of the lodges, is confident the developers have planned for such extreme weather.
“I have no reason to think that it would be a problem,” he said. “If you are asking me whether it will affect the development, then I suspect that the storms are something that happen once in a while.
“The buildings, I’m assuming, would be sufficient in the interests of the developer such that long term it’s not a problem.
“After all that investment, it’s not in the interests of the developer to put through something that is such that they might lose their investment.”
A four-day public enquiry into the development will take place in Winsford from June 17.
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