Springalls Wood – Swyncombe


30th October 2023

CPRE frustrated with developers exaggerating land’s development potential.

Local opposition grows strong against a prospective planning proposal that will endanger an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Historic Woodland.

The plots in question put forth by Barney Estates, have raised significant concerns among residents and conservation groups.  It aims to alter the 20-acre landscape of Springalls Wood by permitting selling off the land in building sized plots, creating fragmented ownership. 

“We, at CPRE Oxfordshire are concerned that this is happening more and more and the latest example at Swyncombe is particularly concerning given the sensitivity of the site as an area of Ancient Woodland, of archaeological importance, within the Chilterns AONB.” Says Helen Marshall, Director CPRE Oxon

We are concerned that land promoters are unreasonably talking up the development potential of land like this, selling it in single plots, with the potential new purchasers applying for planning individually.  Buyers must be aware, that given the protections on the site no development would be allowed even if applications come through, and we feel it puts unreasonable pressure on residents and parish councils to have to be continually vigilant and, where necessary, monitor and respond to applications, however speculative.

CPRE Oxfordshire along with local communities, residents, parish and district councils will express their collective concerns regarding this proposal, which will rob our community of a vital part of its identity.

This 400-year-old beech woodland thought to be on this site since 1621, has a tree preservation order and plays a vital role in maintaining the ecological balance of the community.  This AONB has been a haven for wildlife, and a source of tranquillity for generations.  It forms part of a woodland corridor linking Bix, Nettlebed, Christmas Common, Lambridge Woods, Greys, Witheridge Hill, Kingwood, Checkendon, Ipsden and Warburg Nature Reserve.  The urbanisation of this land will drain the community of wildlife and its natural heritage.

This historic woodland is not just a collection of trees; it is a living museum that connects us to the past, reminding us of the generations that came before. This protected site is also home to an old fort which is being considered for Ancient Monument Status and is thought to date back to 1235. 

We believe that it is our collective responsibility to protect our AONB and historic woodland from any harm that could be inflicted by this proposal.  We encourage all concerned citizens to join us in this critical effort.