The Woodland Trust has welcomed planning chiefs’ decision to give the green light to its plans for a new car park at its flagship woodland site near Epsom.
The charity bought Langley Vale Wood in 2014, aiming to create a new woodland, known as a First World War Centenary Wood – with trees planted as a legacy to those who served in the war.
At the time it was just a private farmland but now, with 150,000 trees planted, it has been transformed into an important natural habitat.
With biodiversity on the increase and a site now opened up for the public to enjoy, visitor numbers have increased.
Carol Honeybun-Kelly, Strategic Woodland Projects Lead at the Woodland Trust, said the 70 space car park and overflow is needed to secure increased access to site – and welcomed the decision by Mole Valley District Council.
She said: “Currently only accessible on foot, visiting Langley Vale Wood today is only possible for a small number of people, so this is a vital resource to ensure that this fantastic site is open to everyone.
“Langley Vale Wood has so much to offer, from ancient woodland and wildflower meadows to rare plants and a community orchard, and we are really pleased that by approving this application, Mole Valley District Council has made exploring this site possible for more local people. Interacting with nature brings so many benefits, from mental and physical wellbeing, to learning about the importance of trees and woods for our environment so this is a great result for the local community.”
Building of the car park is likely to begin in March/April of 2020.
The charity is also seeking planning permission in the coming weeks for a new small visitor centre, a network of paths and a natural play area for children.
For more information on Langley Vale Wood go to: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/wood-information/langley-vale-wood/
The Woodland Trust’s First World War Centenary Woods project is supported by lead partner Sainsbury’s. The retailer is helping the Woodland Trust to plant millions of native trees to commemorate the First World War through donations from sales of products including woodland eggs, chicken and turkey.