I should apologise to my MP, Tom Pursglove for suggesting that his reply to me was rather tardy – it has now arrived and the delay was clearly in the post and in getting from my letter box to me, rather than his fault! He is pretty quick and efficient at replying even though he has had some other things on his mind.
You may remember that I asked my MP, who as a candidate had opposed the Forest Holidays proposed development at Fineshade Wood, whether he is still of the same mind.
These were my questions annotated with Mr Pursglove’s answers I’m in red and he’s in blue):
- have you ever visited Fineshade Wood and talked to the residents there? ‘I spoke to many residents about the proposed development at the time of the application.’ and ‘Although I have not yet visited the wood, I have recently received a kind invitation from some constituents to do just that, and will be taking up their offer as soon as possible.’
- have you seen the excellent website ‘Friends of Fineshade Wood‘? Yes
- have you had any meetings with the Forestry Commission since you became an MP? No
- have you had any meetings with Natural England since you became an MP? ‘I have met Natural England since becoming the MP, where, to the best of my memory, Fineshade Wood was not discussed.’
- have you had any meetings with Forest Holidays since you became an MP? No
- have you had any meetings with Curtin & Co, who we understand have been hired by Forest Holidays, since you became an MP? (I) ‘have met with representatives of Curtin & Co. At that meeting, I expressed my grave concerns about the past application and emphasised the lack of trust the community has in Forest Holidays. I also stressed that, if they are intending to submit a fresh application – regardless of local feeling – there must be far better communication and consultation with the local community, which has been woefully inadequate in the past. However, I did stress that the local opposition would remain overwhelming.’
But, possibly best of all, Mr Pursglove also wrote:
‘As you mention, I strongly objected to the planning application submitted at Fineshade Wood both in November 2104, and again in February 2015, and was extremely pleased when those plans were refused. Should the application be re-submitted, and local concern persists, I will of course be objecting again in the strongest possible terms – Fineshade Wood is a beautiful spot and it must be preserved.‘.
Thank you Mr Pursglove – that seems pretty good to me.