The Delamere Project

A row has broken out over plans to revamp one of our most popular forests.

The Forestry Commission want to build a new visitor centre at Delamere Forest, as well as a holiday park made up of more than 70 log cabins.

Andrea Peattie from the Delamere Project Manager, talking to Heart she says that it's about bringing more people to the Cheshire beauty spot: "the want to come for the forest experience, get their wellies on and enjoy the outdoors."

The plans at the moment are being shown to locals before the overall idea is put before the council's planning committee.

We've spoken to one campaign group who aren't in favour of the project as a whole.  Nigel Gilding is from the group Communities Against Delamere’s Destruction.  He's been telling Heart that agree that the Visitor Centre does need to be upgraded, but fear that the amount of traffic that would be going through the forest to the holiday lodges would be too much:  "You've got kids on their bikes, these kids have got stabalisers on their bikes that's how young there are.

"You've got dog walks and horse riders, the introduction of cars in that area will the change the way it can be used forever."

However Andrea has told Heart that it's not well used:  "It's one of the less used area's of the forest and that's why this area has been chosen."    

Nigel says that in some ways, being accused of 'nimbyism' is partly true:  "Delamere forest is visited by 750,000 people a year coming for as far afield as Warrington, Liverpool, Manchester.  So 'back yard', it's 750,000 peoples back yard."

One other concern from regulars to the forest is that it seems to them that work has already started, they say that trees are already being cleared and plots staked out.  We've put these claims to the Forestry Commission who say that it is just part of routine work:  "The northern block has gone through it's five year thinning programme which is all a part of normal forestry management, people were notified in 2010 that that was going to take place."