Derbyshire Dales politicians back Foolow fundraising campaign for community woodland and meadow
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Constituency MP Sarah Dines and councillor Alasdair Sutton visited the site on Saturday, May 29, and were impressed by the ambitious campaign to purchase 11 acres of land just south of the village from the Peak District National Park Authority.
Ms Dines promised to lobby for funding support from Westminster and said: “I’d really like to see this small project for the community work. It dovetails with national policy.
“We’re very much a green government and the new Environment Bill is a gold standard. If we can try and get some national funding coming to Foolow I’d be very pleased.”
She added: “It doesn’t matter what your politics are, we can all come together on this.”
Derbyshire County Council’s Conservative administration has pledged to plant 1million trees in its new term of office during its next term and Mr Sutton, who was elected as member for the Bakewell area last month, agreed that the Foolow plan presented an ideal opportunity.
He said: “Our leader Barry Lewis is heavily into the environment and this will be one of my priorities as well, to help you out as much as possible.”
The Foolow residents’ group have been granted an exclusive first option to buy the land, but their preferred bidder status will expire in November.
It is the culmination of a long-running saga which could still see a caravan park built on the site if the fundraising drive is unsuccessful – so far, the total stands at around £33,325 thanks to generous contributions from villagers and local businesses.
The park authority paid £650,000 for the land in 2012 in order to prevent its previous owner from developing a static caravan site, which was believed to pose significant risk to the character of the landscape.
The plan now is to create a five acre woodland and six acre meadow, which could become a biodiversity haven and a learning resource for schools and universities.