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Proposal for new wood in Sudbury near historic moat

Sudbury Town Council''Pictured: Jan Osborne ENGANL00120121023095752
Sudbury Town Council''Pictured: Jan Osborne ENGANL00120121023095752

Woods Around Town is looking to create a new community woodland in Sudbury, near to a historic moat.

The group, formerly named BATS, is looking to use an area of unused town council owned land near Woodhall Moat, just north of Woodhall Business Park. The moat and earthwork from a timber house are still visible.

Group member and Sudbury town councillor Jan Osborne told fellow town council leisure and environment committee members of the proposed scheme at a recent meeting.

She said: “We are committed to developing a wood in or around Sudbury. It was going to be at the Chilton development but the depth of that [wood] is now so far down. We have also put a business case to Suffolk County Council for a piece of land near Chilton church. But that won’t be available for four years.

“Sudbury Town Council owns an overgrown site by Woodhall Moat. Perhaps the town council would let us use this as a woodland. School trips and other groups would be welcomed.”

Mrs Osborne said that they needed some form of permission from the town council in order for Babergh officers to go ahead and assess the site’s viability.

“We need to get a management plan in place,” added Mrs Osborne. “But we don’t want to spend time on it if the town won’t approve. We are just dipping our toes in the water.”

Deputy mayor Sarah Page said: “I think the work BATS [sic] do is excellent. It’s a great environmental idea and we should support it.”

Another planned scheme in the area is also awaiting further developments.

The piece of land owned by Babergh District Council on which the moat is situated has been earmarked as one of two options for a new BMX park.

The other is within Belle Vue Park, however Mr Osborne favours Woodhall due to its links to a number of estates in Sudbury, as well as links to Chilton, Great Cornard and Long Melford for users.

“It is also away from residential areas and can be open at all times, unlike in the park,” Mrs Osborne added.

The moat is on the Historic England ‘at risk’ register and Mrs Osborne said that despite most Babergh councillors in Sudbury preferring the Woodhall option, no movement could be made on a decision for a new BMX park could be made until discussions about the moat site had been held with Historic England.

But Mrs Osborne said she felt the park and potential woodland would enhance the area and setting of the monument.

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