Cumbria

Concern over plans to sell Lakes woodland

Residents living near a Lake District beauty spot have raised concerns about the planned sale of woodland.

The Forestry Commission is selling Sawrey Ground, which is close to Tarn Hows - one of the National Park's most popular tourist destinations.

Many residents are concerned a valuable public amenity will be lost if the new owners decide to restrict access.

The plans are part of a nationwide sale of small areas of woodland to help reduce costs, the commission said.

Mike O'Connell, who runs a bed and breakfast nearby, has warned that the sale could be "one more nail in the coffin of the Lake District as a living community".

'Difficult decision'

He said: "This particular forest is most vulnerable because it happens to be leasehold. It's a technicality legally but what it means is that historically rights of way have not been established in it.

"And when it comes up for sale it could well be that it is bought privately and that would allow the person who bought it to more or less fence it off and prevent use of it."

Forestry Commission spokesman Graeme Prest said putting the woodland up for sale had been a difficult decision.

"Over the years we're doing more and more for the public. If you look at Grizedale Forest's fantastic new facilities, and we're creating new forests in cities like Liverpool and Manchester and obviously that costs money.

"At the same time the money we get from central government is going down so it's trying to find a way to manage our books and keep them in balance."

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