The Water Tower

The Water Tower
The Water Tower at Dusk

Monday, March 14, 2011

Small Woods Association

I used to be a member of the small woods association but my membership has lapsed. I might re join. I checked out their web site and found some interesting snippets of information for anyone considering buying a woodland. I am wondering if we over paid for the woodland we purchased since the price per acre quoted for woods for sale now seems a lot less than we originally paid. Probably a bit late to get a refund but who knows, if you don’t ask you don’t get.
The Small Woods Association. from the small woods assoc web site
Studies show that managed woodlands (those that are not allowed to decay) are better for wildlife and biodiversity, as well as for the timber and woodland products they 'grow'.
The future of woodlands relies on effective management, just as a garden needs constant maintenance and care to thrive. Trees must be thinned to grow well and invasive species like bramble have to be managed so that they don't dominate other plants.

Woodlands that have a reason to be managed, perhaps for timber, firewood, access or green woodworking, are more likely to be receive love and attention long into the future, and indeed those woodlands that we have today have survived precisely because they have had an economic value to the local community-
 Planning permission from the small woods assoc web site
Quite rightly, the authorities regulate activities and the building of structures in woodlands quite strictly (if they didn't every woodland would hold a mansion and woodland prices would shoot through the roof!), and the chances of you getting permission to build a house in your woodland are remote.  Occasionally individual woodland workers (such as Ben Law) have succeeded but only after a long battle.
As the law stands you are entitled to erect a small shed in your woodland (permitted development) as long as it is used exclusively for forestry purposes (tool storage etc) and not for regular overnight stays, recreation equipment storage or barbeques.
Water Tower Wood and the EAS
It is clear to Gerry and I, that the local amenity society (EAS) have concerns about our planning application at water tower wood. The application is for the erection of a replacement wood store/ sitting out area, a replacement fence with bin store, the broadening of a small area of path plus some steps cut into the bank to gain access to plant trees. Because these “structures” are in the conservation area they require planning permission and cannot be sanctioned under permitted development. If you live in a conservation area – the same applies to you. The concerns being raised by the EAS appear to us to be totally out of proportion with what is being applied for and the society appears to have lost sight of the planning issues. The notices of protection are part of the feu conditions and these are not planning conditions. The feu conditions are however being complied with and really, the spread of bark chips after a building project and in an area of woodland destined for planting, is really clutching at straws as an example of woodland destruction or was that being quoted as an example of "formal landscaping"? Should anyone like to discuss this topic please get in touch. We invite anyone with any concern at all to come along to water tower wood to see it for yourself. The Green Party did this recently and it was very helpful. Here is an extract from their correspondence.
...... visited the eco house and land at the invitation of the Goldwyres yesterday. I am satisfied that the work carried out was done sensitively, with sustainability in mind and with all the correct permissions - apart from some residual work requiring retrospective planning permission.
I asked them about the trees, and I've been shown evidence that this work was done with permission from Midlothian Council, and it was done with advice from specialists in that field, designed to allow light through to allow undergrowth to thrive. The planting of new trees and various plants is in keeping with the terrain and designed to reduce erosion on the bank, and I saw no reason to object to how they had gone about it. The woodwork of the eco house and some fencing is a bit brighter than the surrounding natural shades, but I was told that will darken with weathering (I was shown an example of the eventual shade, which will be much more in keeping with the surrounding).
In the light of this, and having withdrawn our objection, I am inclined to take no further action. If anyone disagrees, I suggest they go along and take a look for themselves - the Goldwyres have intimated that they would welcome anyone from the party who wants to visit.
Call on 660 4865 to arrange a date/time if you would like to do the same as the Green Party.


  1. Forgot to say that the Green Party were asked by a member of the EAS to lodge an objection and to do it quickly because there was very little time. Their objection was registered for about 1 day before it was withdrawn after Ian Baxter came to visit.

  2. Hi Susan - is there an update to this information? Did you succeed in getting planning permission? I am keen to know as I too am the owner of a small woodland seeking planning permission for a working hut. e:

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  4. Hi Rachel. We did secure planning permission for these structures including the wood store. If I can help at all with your own situation please fell free to call me 0131 660 4865