The battle to save Titnore Woods

Been watching this growing struggle for some time now and only now realised I ought to at least post the URL’s for my gentle reader.

This explanatory text reprinted with permission from TEA (Titnore Emergency Action)

A MASSIVE battle is shaping up to save unique ancient woodland in West Durrington near Worthing in West Sussex which is under serious threat from property developers and road builders. Titnore lane and the redevelopment site is located to the north east of Highdown Hill between the A27 and A259 to the South. To the north of the site and the A27 lie Clapham Woods (the largest dip slope unitary ancient woodland complex on the South Downs) and the South Downs where the ground rises to above 300 feet.

Titnore lane for many years has been a rat run for traffic commuting between the two major south coast trunk roads – now made even worse since being WRONGLY classified an ‘A’ road when the A27 Patching spaghetti junction was built –  but its origins date back into prehistory as a droveway. From those very earliest times the lane has been an important feature in the life of community’s, whether it be for moving animals, food or timber the chances are that it has always followed the same meandering trial. But not anymore if the planners get there way.

The first stage of the horrific plans which are due to come before Worthing Borough Council involve 850 new homes outlined in red  – together with the widening and straightening of Titnore Lane to cope with the increase in traffic between the A27, A259 and the new developments.

The proposed road works would plough through rare ancient semi-natural woodland that has been there since the last ice age. It has been designated a Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI) and is completely irreplaceable. Several hundred trees would have to be felled, many over 150 years old and comprising oak, ash birch and willow. The woods are home to many protected species of wildlife, including bats, crested newts, dormice, slow-worms etc.

These trees are part of one of the last remaining areas of ancient woodland on the coastal plan and ironically the developer accepts that the ancient woodland is of great conservation importance as it is known to support a considerable variety of bird species, Long Tailed Tit, Blackcap, Treecreeper, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. They also accept that the Oaks along Titnore Lane are of lichenological interest and include Schismatomma quercina which is very rare in Sussex and the uncommon species Arthonia vinosa

Titnore Lane itself is part of our cultural heritage, reaching back at least to the Anglo-Saxon period and most probably way beyond that. It was part of a longer track that reached northwards across the Downs and is rich in archaeological remains. The woods below Highdown, the important iron age hillfort, are an important amenity for local people and the quality of life would be severely affected by the massive housing estate – and by the increase in traffic.

But that’s not all. Although The present development application covers over 125 acres – some within the Countryside Agency’s ‘Boundary’ for the designated South Downs National Park but crucially much is outside. The full area threatened by future development is bordered by the A27, Adur avenue, Fulbeck Avenue, Titnore Way and Titnore Lane The central OS Grid Reference is TQ 10499 05317.

The area contains the Grade 1 listed Castle Goring, it’s historic parkland and lake, together with Roman and prehistoric archaeology as well as the unique ancient woodland. It is worthy of note that in his report, the inspector who carried out the Local Inquiry into the Worthing Draft Local Plan stated: ‘Proper recognition should be given to the importance of the Castle Goring Conservation Area’.

Finally the full horror, even for the present nasty scheme, would be clearly seen from Highdown Hill (National Trust) and once the tree canopy is removed as the trees are felled, the willful vandalism of the widened Titnore Lane would dominate and destroy the setting of the South Downs area of Outstanding Natural Beauty towards the north.

May we please urge you to:

Object to this development by writing / e-mailing to:

The Head of Planning, Portland House Richmond Road Worthing West Sussex. BN11 1LF.

e-mail:  Quoting Application No: WB/05/1402/FULL

 Please feel free to copy this text to anyone you think may be interested enough to write.

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