Friends group opposes works to restore Croham Hurst after fire

Charred Croham Hurst

A whole expanse of heather was destroyed by fire at Croham Hurst last summer

Those not working this Bank Holiday Monday in the fine weather forecasted might want to take their recreation on the top of Croham Hurst, especially with the cooling tree cover on the route from the Croham valley.

After the hard work climbing to the summit, you will be able to see evidence of good work done by the Croydon Conservation Volunteers.

Last summer’s heat wave saw precious heathland at the top of Croham Hurst’s site of special scientific interest scarred by fire – some of which may have been caused by carelessly discarded cigarette butts on the tinder-dry scrubland.

Now, the volunteers have put up protective fencing, paid for by Croydon Council, to assist the restoration of the heather that was so badly damaged in the fires atop the Hurst. Competing scrub growth has been cut back.

Volunteers hard at work getting fencing out to protect the regrowing heather at Croham Hurst

But the works and the funding of them have been criticised by the chair of the Friends of Croham Hurst.

Maria Gatland, the Conservative councillor for South Croydon ward, has written in the March newsletter to Friends members that it is the view of their committee and of their recent annual meeting that the fencing used in this enclave of natural wildness is “too intrusive”.

Exception was also taken to a suggestion by the council that the Friends might wish to contribute to the cost of the fencing.

Mixed message: Cllr Gatland’s contact details on a notice pinned to the fencing

“In my meeting with the council, it was suggested that Friends might wish to fund fencing to encircle the damaged area to prevent trampling, at a cost of £3,000,” Gatland wrote.

“I put this suggestion to our committee and to members at the AGM. The overwhelming view of both was that it would be too expensive and too intrusive.”

Gatland could be accused of giving mixed messages over the restoration work of this rare piece of natural habitat.

The councillor’s council email address has been put on a council notice on the new fencing to direct any volunteers wanting to tackle “competing vegetation for the next few years”.

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This entry was posted in Croham Hurst, Croydon Council, Croydon parks, Environment, Friends of Croham Hurst Woods, Maria Gatland, South Croydon, Wildlife and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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