Anger over Tilgate Forest tree works

A group has concerns over tree works being carried out by a golf course in Tilgate Forest and the mess the company has left across parts of the forest. Steve Robards  SR1603973 SUS-160802-170719001
A group has concerns over tree works being carried out by a golf course in Tilgate Forest and the mess the company has left across parts of the forest. Steve Robards SR1603973 SUS-160802-170719001
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Nearly 100 people went to a community meeting after concerns were raised over Tilgate Forest golf course’s tree works.

Tilgate Forum secretary Sylvia Handy said people complained that more than 30 per cent of trees in Tilgate Golf Centre’s grounds had been felled with no public consultation or consideration to the wider public’s use of the area.

She said the meeting on Thursday (February 4) in Shackleton Road Community Centre followed “arguments between dog walkers and golfers and some people are saying there are footpaths which are gone or they are not allowed to use now”.

A Tilgate Forum statement said the golf course’s manager Dan Lucking and a forestry contractor explained the maintenance work was aimed to: remove windblown and damaged trees; thin them by about 30 per cent; improve playability of the course; aesthetics; controlling undergrowth; and improving drainage.

A spokesman for Crawley Borough Council said Glendale Golf, which leases the land from the council, was licenced to carry out the works by the Forestry Commission.

She said: “The works needed to begin in the area of biggest priority, where the uprooted and dangerous trees were. This area needed to be completely cleared for safety reasons. As there are a number of native species in the surrounding areas, this area will be left to self-seed in the future.

“Areas within ten yards of a fairway have been more heavily thinned and scrub removed but the overall thinning is not more than 30 per cent. This is being undertaken in a properly managed way with many good quality pines, oaks, hemlock and birches being left.

“Decisions on which trees should be felled are taken by the specialists within the principles of good forestry management and the scope of their licence.

“Any income from the sale of the felled trees has been used by Glendale to offset the cost of the works.”

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