The 35 acres of Windmill Wood (Toft Woods) is being offered for sale by Fisher German by on-line auction on 23 August.
Toft Woods has been used by generations of Knutsford, Toft and Ollerton residents for family walks and dog walking, bird watching and youngsters exploring. Scout groups and visitors make extensive use of the woodland. It is an important asset used extensively by the community.
Parishioners may be aware that many attempts have been made to seek planning permission for these woods: paint ball games, build additional properties, split into smaller lots, timber extraction etc etc.
The woods are now being marketed on the grounds that “Leisure and recreational uses sympathetic to the woodland setting are likely to be explored by potential purchasers”.
Although the woods benefit from Green Belt protection, certain types of development are permissible, including “…..changes of use for outdoor sport or recreation….” (NPPF para 150).
New owners could well seek to limit the ability of the users to roam through the woodland and confine the use to the three public footpaths which intersect on the land to be sold. (Knutsford FP19 from Goughs Lane; Toft FP11 from Chelford Road; and Toft FP4 from Seven Sisters Lane).
In view of the potential threat to access, Knutsford’s Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green, has launched a crowd-funding website to enable the community to purchase the woodland as a charitable trust to keep the woodland open, fundraise for improvements and ensure it is managed by the community for the community. The target is £200K and there’s 16 days to go. Full refund if the target is not reached or the bid is unsuccessful.
If you feel moved to support this cause (it has raised over £7000 in less than 24 hours) please visit: