Somerset County Council is planning to sell off over 2,000 acres of nature reserves and woodland on the Quantocks. There is a consultation underway in advance of the sale. This seems to have sneaked under the radar and the deadline for responses is 23rd December 2011!
Friends of Quantock (FOQ) has learnt with some alarm of Somerset County Council’s intention to sell Custom Common, Over Stowey, Thorncombe Hill and even Great Wood. These are all very important parts of the Quantock Hills AONB. I and FOQ feel very strongly that they should remain in public ownership and not be disposed of to the highest bidder. While some safeguards are already in place, it is clear that private ownership carries much higher risks of potential damage or neglect to these important areas, especially within the SSSI where management is all important.
The County Council has published a notice (somewhere, apparently) about the proposed sale and anyone who wishes to object to the disposal of the land should forward their written objection to: Honor Clark, Deputy County Solicitor, Legal Services, County Hall, Taunton TA1 4DY (ref: CNV0038/1/JAH) by 23 December 2011.
Friends of Quantock will be lodging a formal objection and we understand that the Campaign to Protect Rural England and other bodies are also believed to be considering objecting.
I would urge everyone interested in the Quantocks to object to the privatisation of our common property. This is like the Government sale of our Forests all over again. We won that battle through a show of strength and we can win this too.
For more information, contact the Secretary of FOQ on firstname.lastname@example.org