Couple’s bid to ‘save woodland for future generations’ amid ‘rapid development’ of Portishead

PUBLISHED: 15:16 05 November 2018

John and Jenny Maycock hope to transfer the lease for Brackenwood Woodland.

John and Jenny Maycock hope to transfer the lease for Brackenwood Woodland.

Archant

A couple hoping to gift an ‘incredibly valuable piece of woodland’ to the people of Portishead have called for support to safeguard its future.

John and Jenny Maycock – owners of Brackenwood Plant & Garden Centre in Abbots Leigh – hope to transfer control of Brackenwood Woodland off Nore Road, staving off developers eyeing the site for housing.

The pair inked a 99-year lease for the eight-acres with North Somerset Council in 1992, but they hope to secure its future by handing control of the site to a community trust – which would be responsible for maintenance and hosting activities which promote health, wellbeing and education for vulnerable people.

John and Jenny, in addition to transferring the lease, have confirmed they will back the trust to the tune of £20,000 if control can be transferred – but they feel the council has hindered the process, with the lease still not transferred despite more than a decade of trying.

John said: “Over the past 14 years we have attempted to find a charitable or environmentally-friendly organisation to gift the woodland to and preserve it from development in the future.

“We feel with the rapid development of Portishead it is even more important to save this incredibly valuable piece of woodland for future generations to enjoy and provide a wonderful asset to local people.”

John, an expert horticulturist, believes there is a ‘super balance’ of wildlife and shrubbery, making for an ideal place to introduce people to the environment.

He added: “Nowhere is inaccessible to developers these days. It’s a lovely patch of woodland with beautiful views of the channel.

“If that woodland is gone it will be gone forever. You couldn’t replace those trees in 100 years.

“I would hate it if I was to keel over and someone was to build houses on it.”

A North Somerset Council spokesman told the Times: “We have always said to Mr Maycock that we would support the transfer of the land, but as he is the lease owner it is his legal responsibility to do this.

“Mr Maycock last contacted us in June to discuss a proposed transfer of the lease which we support, but we have not heard anything more from him since then.

“Any failure to move forward on this is certainly not the council’s doing.”

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