Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Speckled Wood in Ore

Speckled Wood in Ore

Help save Speckled Wood in Ore

Speckled Wood in Ore is under threat from development. Again. Hearing about the latest prospect of development and consultation, HOT’s Zelly Restorick went along to the woodland to speak to Martin Newbold, Chairman of the Friends of Speckled Wood Management Trust.

Speckled Wood in Ore

One of the potential development sites

My visit to Speckled Wood to meet Martin Newbold and other Friends coincided with that of the BBC Radio Sussex reporter, Simon Jenkins, who said that plans to develop Speckled Wood were representative of similar plans, throughout Sussex, to build on natural areas.*

Speckled Wood, a rare wild-woodland ghyll, is one of the few remaining green spaces in Ore [see diagram below]. Now this woodland – and its widely varied inhabitants – are also under threat – and not for the first time. During the past 49 years, various planning applications have been submitted to Hastings Borough Council to develop this piece of land, none of which – thankfully – have thus far reached completion. However, in February of this year, outline planning permission was once again passed by the Council’s planning committee; a full planning permission application will now at some point be submitted.

Speckled Wood in Ore

Speckled Wood in Ore

Speckled Wood is currently on the Local Authority’s Proposed Development Management Plan, a list of potential development sites in Hastings and St Leonards. Currently, there are three planning proposals for various levels of development – and the Friends want a fourth option to be added: No development at all. The Friends have organised a consultation about the development plans and it is vital that as many responses as possible are collected before April 22nd 2014.

The Friends have a vision for a wet-woodland centre in the woods that is environmentally friendly and in harmony with the surrounding nature, where the local community would have access to educational resources, still be able to fully enjoy the peace this area offers – and where the woodland, rare plants and animal habitat would be protected, in perpetuity.

Speckled Wood in Ore

Speckled Wood in Ore

And this is where your help is needed!

Please find the time – only a few minutes – to respond to the consultation [see link below], stating the reasons why you feel there should not be any development of the woodland. Your time and energy really is essential. By taking action, you would know that you have offered a vital contribution towards protecting one of the last remaining natural areas in our town – not only on behalf of the local human population, but on behalf of all the other species who inhabit the woods, who have no voice in our current system.

Please also spread the word to other people you know, who you feel would want to get involved.


* Listen in! BBC Radio Sussex will be broadcasting a number of links regarding Speckled Wood, plus interviews with local representatives, between 6am and 8.30am on March 27th 2014.

Flowers in the woods

Link to the consultation here.

Link to the Friends of Speckled Wood website here.

Previous HOT article here.




Ore green space - going going gone

Ore green space - going going gone



Posted 13:53 Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 In: Campaigns


Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT

  1. Martin Newbold

    We served our statements to the Program Officer yesterday within the deadline. This is part of the Public Examination of the Revised Submission Development Management Plan (Local Plan) . Hearings are due to start 18th November 2014 at the Horntye Park Sports Complex, Bohemia Rd, Hastings, East Sussex TN34 1EX

    Comment by Martin Newbold — Saturday, Nov 1, 2014 @ 12:59

  2. Martin Newbold

    Phone autopredict on my name above error

    Comment by Martin Newbold — Saturday, Jun 14, 2014 @ 23:04

  3. martib Newbold

    Dear Zelly,

    Please change our website to above our old site has been taken from us and we have no control of the information on the old site and do not support the views placed there by the curren owner. please ask your subscibers not to use this site.

    We have a dispute with Nominet for this domain ongoing.

    Thank you for your help

    Comment by martib Newbold — Saturday, Jun 14, 2014 @ 23:02

  4. Martin Newbold

    Paddy , Yes we are aware of Robsack we have emailed you . Richard is very helpful. We have FOI requests outstanding too the best one is still to come watch out for it. We will provide you with as much information as we can. I have seen the FOI for Richard it was not clear and not very helpful.

    Comment by Martin Newbold — Thursday, Jun 5, 2014 @ 21:23

  5. paddy stephenson

    Many groups are asking residents/campaigners to submit their comments for the final tranche of the Local Plan. We are campaigning to save Robsack ‘Meadow’ from development and have recently delivered over 100 leaflets reminding local residents that the deadline for comments draws near. The feed back illustrates just how difficult it is to access the online website in order to make comment – it is daunting unless you are IT savvy or have a background in planning. Even the ‘hard copy’ format is full of council/planning speak. Little wonder that a FOI request on previous consultations confirmed the poor uptake on these consultations.

    We are having to visit residents in an endeavour to show them how to log on to this undemocratic maze. The methodology of this consultation is grossly unfair and not a bit democratic.

    Comment by paddy stephenson — Tuesday, Apr 8, 2014 @ 13:49

  6. Rebecca Sargent

    Hello Zelly. Thank you for your reply. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have about this issue, as have been involved with it for a couple of years. I wish for there to be no development of the wood, either. As someone with a keen interest in wildlife and woodland management, I feel very passionate about preserving places like this, and educating the public about the environment around them. It is imperative that this matter is handled in the correct way, and the public is not mislead or given confusing or incorrect information when campaigns such as these are carried out. Things like that could actually damage any campaign. Thank you for your article, which is keeping this issue in the public eye, and raising awareness. We would hate for people to get complacent!

    Comment by Rebecca Sargent — Friday, Mar 28, 2014 @ 10:57

  7. Zelly Restorick

    Hello Rebecca, Many thanks for your comments. I can see I need to investigate this issue some more. I’m coming from the perspective of wanting there to be no development in the woods, a view which I know coincides with that of many other local people. I will speak to the Planning Dept and see what I can find out to clarify this matter. My main objective is simply to raise awareness of the situation that, following the February planning meeting, the woodland is under threat again. Thank you for taking the time to respond. Zelly

    Comment by Zelly Restorick — Friday, Mar 28, 2014 @ 06:38

  8. Rebecca Sargent

    I think Freindsofspeckledwood (sic), have misunderstood Eva. She was pointing out that there were the 3 proposals for protection of the woodland, but now there is one, as shown on the policies map. I do trust you remember the consultation in 2012, where the council chose to put forward option 3? Option 4 (Friends of Speckled Wood’s) proposal was not considered viable, mainly for the reasons that the 3 areas (the ones mentioned by myself!) were already earmarked for development. This option of theirs is, of course, the result that we all would like to see, for there to be no development at all in the wood. I’m afraid I don’t quite understand your comment, Freindsofspeckledwood (sic). You want us to ‘take the matter from the DMP’ and that ‘this will hopefully with enough signatures make him consider this or a lesser option’. Please may you explain these two statements, as the first implies you want Speckled Wood removed completely from the DMP.

    Comment by Rebecca Sargent — Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 @ 20:35

  9. Freindsofspeckledwood

    Sorry yes Eva well pointed out CV01 CV03 CV04. However the Green Space for the rest of the site is still potentially at risk as it will all be determine by the Inspector who makes the final decision.

    We are asking you to take the matter from the DMP by filling in the online consultation. Or returning your completed form which was delivered to your home if you live in the area. This will hopefully with enough signatures make him consider this or a lesser option. You can find out more what the current situation is online on the BBC Sussex Radio broadcast today by Neil,Peter,Don and Martin.

    Comment by Freindsofspeckledwood — Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 @ 18:26

  10. Rebecca Sargent

    Eva is quite correct. From the three options proposed, the third one was put forward by the Council. The Policies map (link below) shows Speckled Wood as mainly protected space (a Local Green Space), with 3 potential development sites within its boundaries. Speckled Wood needs to be kept on the Development Management Plan otherwise it cannot be put forward for protection.

    It is of course a very difficult area as there are many owners of the land within the wood. The recent decision by the Planning Committee, re: the Victoria Avenue plot, was most disappointing to say the least!

    Comment by Rebecca Sargent — Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 @ 10:18

  11. Zelly Restorick

    Thank you Eva, I’m will check things out some more. I wanted to post something as soon as I could, because of the consultation and to raise awareness of what is happening – and had based my article on info from local representatives. Thanks for responding.

    Comment by Zelly Restorick — Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 @ 08:59

  12. Zelly Restorick

    It would be lovely if the woodland and all its non-human residents could be respected and be allowed to live/exist, simply as a representation of what is happening world-wide to natural spaces – and especially to what has happened in the past decades/centuries in Ore. Many local people aren’t lucky enough to have a garden and so access to green spaces and what they offer is, to me, essential. And learning about nature from those who will teach people to love and respect it, is a fantastic, necessary vision.

    Comment by Zelly Restorick — Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 @ 08:56

  13. Zelly Restorick

    I would like to look into this situation some more, as to me, it just seems heart-breaking to develop on the woodland – any part of it, even though I know there is a high need for housing in the South East. The reason I am involved is for ‘nature’, as it cannot speak up for itself in our human system. Thank you for your response. Appreciated.

    Comment by Zelly Restorick — Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 @ 08:52

  14. Eva Cat

    I think you’ll find there are not three proposals for the woodland – only one. There were three in the consultation that took place two years ago. The one in the council’s draft plan has most of Speckled Wood as protected open space.

    Comment by Eva Cat — Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 @ 21:32

  15. Friends of Speckled Wood Management Trust

    If you have not seen the DMP which zones areas of this woodland CV01 … CV04 for development you can go to the Town hall and pick up an information pack including the DMP. Alternatively you can view it online here: (Viewing Caution given. View with care it will make you weep.)

    Comment by Friends of Speckled Wood Management Trust — Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 @ 20:44

  16. Friends of Speckled Wood Management Trust

    Fabulous article was lovely to meet you and Simon and so many friends in the Woodland on a lovely rainy morning, an excellent walk through and fabulous time was had by all. Neil’s breakfast show starts at 6:00am until 9:00pm.

    If anyone is upset with the recent planning decision Friday is the last day you can make a complaint to the Chief Legal about it so you just have a chance to write something and Special Delivery it.

    BBC Sussex can be found here: you can listen in online or at 95.3 FM, 104.5 FM, 104.8 FM on the radio.

    Comment by Friends of Speckled Wood Management Trust — Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 @ 20:38

  17. little megs

    Yes lots of actual trusts / orgs have plans for the use of this beautiful green space to be used for the greater good of the whole community and it would be fabulous if the idea of a classroom germinated originally by Terri Hailwood and Rebecca Sargent really did come to fruition .

    Comment by little megs — Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 @ 15:18

  18. Ore Community Land Trust

    It has to be said that the recent decision to grant planning permission in the wood is yet another blot on the Planning Committee in Hastings. They ignored the over-whelming local opposition to it, the opposition raised by the local ward councillors, the fact the site is commercial unviable and that the they should be protecting how local woods – not building on them!

    Comment by Ore Community Land Trust — Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 @ 14:58

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