The government is set for another fight with protestors over the future of Cheshire's Delamere Forest after plans for holiday homes were published as part of a wide-scale overhaul of the popular nature attraction.
Pre-planning application proposals include new visitor centre, more cycle tracks, play zones and improved road access.
There will be a separate application for 78 forest cabins to be built in 47 acres of the Kingswood area by Forest Holidays, a joint venture between the Forestry Commission and the Camping & Caravanning Club. Forest Holidays already operates similar sites in Cornwall, Forest of Dean and North Yorkshire.
An opposition campaign website under the name Communities Against Delamere's Destruction was established last week, on 23 February, the day pre-planning consultation began. The website has attracted dozens of comments from members of the public and local businesses, not all anti-development, several calling for the support to 'seize the opportunity' of economic growth. Opponents fear lasting damage to the natural eco-system of the forest.
The Forestry Commission says the development will improve create jobs and increase footfall. Delamere is already home to an extreme cycling track and Go Ape high-wire course.
The government last year had to back down after fierce national opposition to plans to sell the nation's forests.
The draft plans for Delamere are on show until the end of March in the information centre at the forest. There will also be three open sessions at the information centre where people can discuss the draft plans with Forestry Commission and Forest Holidays staff:
- Tuesday 6 March 10am – Noon
- Wednesday 7 March Noon – 5pm
- Thursday 8 March 5pm -8pm