Hands off Hamsterley – Rally

Hands off Hamsterley

Caroline Peacock writes:

“Dear Friends,
For the reasons that Vicky explains below, we shall still be joining the meeting in Hamsterley Forest at 11am on Saturday morning.   We hope as many people as possible will be there too.”

To:  All Hamsterley Residents

Last week the Government did a U-turn on the Forest sell-off plans which was fantastic news and a great victory for all the thousands of people who expressed their deep concern over this matter.

What was not clear, however, was whether proposals to make 30% of Forestry staff redundant were also being put on hold.

I understand, however, that these redundancies are still going ahead and it is totally unclear to me how the Forests can be effectively managed for continued public recreation (and timber production) with such massive staffing reductions.  I understand the proposal is for Hamsterley, Dalby, Chopwell, Whinlatter and Grizedale offices to close and everything to be centred at Pickering. The Visitor Centres would also close and transfer to the private sector.

In addition, there is still a commitment to sell off 15% of forest land that can be done within existing legislation.

For these reasons Hamsterley’s MP, Helen Goodman and the Teesdale Mercury – have asked that people still come on Saturday 26 February at 11am to the Trek at Hamsterley Forest (meeting in the car park by the Visitor Centre.)

Please don’t be complacent – we need to keep pressure on the Government to ensure that if the Forests remain in public ownership they are still able to deliver what the public wants of them ie proper recreational facilities.  So please turn up on Saturday to show this fight is not yet over and that we are NOT going to be silenced by the offer of panel of ‘independent experts’ in place of proper public consultation.

Many thanks
Vicky Chilcott
Secretary, Hamsterley Trailblazers

Caroline Peacock previously wrote:

“Dear Friends,

The possible sale of Hamsterley Forest is a matter of real concern to us all, I feel sure.  Vicky Chilcott has asked for the above document to be circulated – and I am more than happy to help.  She makes the following point about opening it, though:
PS  You might need to advise people to choose the tool ‘View – Print Layout’ to see it properly!  The logo may cause problems on some computers.Please let me know if you have any difficulty and I will try and send it in some other form”

Saturday 26 February, 11am, Hamsterley Forest

Walk, Ride, Cycle – or just be there!!!

Tell the Government:

HANDS OFF OUR FOREST

The Government wants to privatise England’s forests.  But they say it’s OK because:

  • We can buy OUR Forest for its market value and run it ourselves (if we can raise c £8million+ in 28 days and take responsibility for the pay, pensions and redundancy costs of Forestry Commission staff.)
  • It doesn’t matter if access is reduced – we can go elsewhere (P.42 ‘Impact Assessment –‘Models of the Future of the Public Estate in England’)
  • Small businesses won’t be affected (P.42 Impact Assessment)  REALLY!!!!

Access by car, cycle and horse in the Forest is only permissive – there is no legal obligation for a new owner to keep open the Forest Drive (recently voted one of the country’s top scenic woodland drives) or to keep open the traffic-free cycle and horse riding trails that our children and families enjoy so much.  Residents in the Stang Forest (sold a few weeks ago) have already seen all the locks changed on gates to forest roads that they have used for years.

TELL the Government – this was not in your manifesto!  No-one voted for this!

JOIN the campaign to STOP the Government selling OUR Forests.  COME TO THE RALLY; SIGNPETITIONS, WRITE TO MPs (Especially Conservative and Lib Dem MPs) SPREAD THE WORD!!

Some petitions:

ALSO: Reply to the Consultation Document: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/england-pfeconsultation Say NO to the Government proposals before 21 April 2011.

Some of many who have already objected: WWF; RSPB; Woodland Trust; CTC; National Trust; Ramblers Assoc; Open Spaces Society; Campaign for National Parks; Archbishop of Canterbury & 100s of Celebrities, Friends of the Earth, Helen Goodman MP, 38 Degrees, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Teesdale Mercury, Northern Echo, IMBA; Hamsterley Trailblazers, Hamsterley Horse Riding Assoc; Durham Fell Runners and many, many others….

Vicky Chilcott, Secretary, Hamsterley Trailblazers (Reg Charity No: 1109271)

Email: Vicky@century.gb.com or www.hamsterley-trailblazers.co.uk

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