RUNNERS whose motto is “Never Surrender” are backing a campaign aimed at defeating controversial plans for holiday lodges.
The 70 luxury cabins are earmarked for Delamere Forest, and the plans will come under the spotlight at a public inquiry due to take place at Winsford next month.
The scheme is being opposed by campaign group Communities Against Delamere’s Destruction (CADD), which was formed by local residents.
CADD has won the backing of a trail running group based in the forest, which has donated £300 to the campaign to help with the cost of legal representation.
Delamere Spartans has more than 60 active runners, who meet at different points in the forest on Tuesday evenings and Sunday mornings.
“As a club we have followed this controversial proposal very closely, and club members are actively supporting CADD,” said Nick Wishart from Sandiway, one of the club’s run leaders.
“As a running group and a collection of local residents who regularly enjoy the forest with our families we are gravely concerned about the devastating impact of this proposal.
“The development is proposed in an area where we run, which will be substantially changed if the lodges are approved. The forest would no longer be traffic-free and peaceful, and it would be bisected by a road.
“We use the forest, which is fairly small, routinely, and if the scheme is approved it will set a precedent for the use of Green Belt land.
“I enjoy running in the forest because of the peace and tranquillity, it is traffic-free and you are away from the built-up environment.”
Delamere Spartans is one of the biggest running clubs in Cheshire, has just celebrated its third birthday and members use the forest during the day and night.
Nick said he was confident “common sense will prevail”, and the lodges plan would be rejected following the forthcoming public inquiry because of the loss of amenity from the development and the use of Green Belt land.
He was concerned, however, that the running club could lose members should the plan be approved, and might have to look at where it would be based in the long term.
The Forest Holidays and Forestry Commission plans include providing a replacement visitor centre, and were approved by Cheshire West and Chester Council.
A four-day public inquiry into the scheme is due to begin on June 17 at the council offices in Winsford.