High House Wood

Around 25 attended the Trinity Centre public meeting, Thursday 26 Sept ’19
– a copy of the minutes are available to all FoHHW members.

Short History

A small, managed wooded area of around eight and half acres bordering the Lickey Hills Country Park and Old Birmingham Road.

The land was acquired by Mackee and Rodway Estate Agents in October 1946 with the aim of securing planning consent. Later, on the closure of the business, each partner handed their interest to family members.

During 2005, there was a successful application to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister under the ‘Open Spaces’ scheme and we were awarded £25,000. This enabled the clearing of certain sections, reduce the tree canopy to allow light to the wood floor to encourage wildflowers, open the paths for easy access, install information boards, secure the site (from potential settlers) and more.

Although privately owned, a three-party management team – consisting of the the owners agent, the Parish Council and High House Drive Residents Association was established to ensure it continued to flourish for its native habitants, the local community and visitors.

Since then, Lickey & Blackwell Parish Council have supported our endeavours via the precept allowing ongoing annual work to be completed.

In January 2019, the good works of the team was acknowledged with a member being awarded a ‘Wildlife Hero’ award by the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust at Lower Smite Farm.

We are pleased that Lickey Hills Primary School has participated in educational visits, helped plant a second fruit tree, and that parents use HHW to walk children safely to the school.

Other community events included a Bat Night and fruit tree planting to commemorate the WWI Armistice with several speakers. Bat, owl and bird boxes have been installed and we leave fallen/felled trees in place to encourage insects etc.

–KW 17/8/19

Recent DevelopmentAugust 2019

We now learn that the conservation area has been put on the market 31 July 2019 for £224,900 through Cotton Chartered Surveyors Link Here.

In January 2013, there was a similar consideration but there was no consensus within the family owners to sell. Striving to make this site as secure as possibly, an immediate application for a blanket Tree Preservation Order (TPO) across HHW was granted in April 2013. Furthermore, a second decision was taken to have it registered as a Community Asset (which allows first refusal and time to arrange funds) with the Parish Council but unfortunately this wasn’t followed through – although this is now going ahead.

The asking price by the vendors seems at odds with other similar woodland sites – particularly in the absence/likelihood of planning consent.

There are obviously concerns for the future for this conservation land, but here are some positive points:

  • Managed wood for biodiversity – wildlife, plants, trees etc.
  • HHW is in the Green Belt and abuts the Lickey Hills Country Park
  • TPO (Tree Preservation Order) across the whole site
  • Rights of Way
  • Appreciable public monies spent on its maintenance since 2005
  • Used for educational visits by local school
  • Used by the community for recreational purposes
  • Inclusion in the local Neighbourhood Development Plan (copy here)
  • CPRE Worcestershire (Campaign to Protect Rural England) June 2019 report (copy here) – Lickey Hills ‘Very High’ overall landscape value
  • Local historian believes the Lickey Gibbet was located here
  • A Roman Road passed the west corner of the site
  • SHLAA (Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment) May 2014 (copy here) – HHW discounted due to TPO and Green Belt

The final point is interesting as it appears the TPO was applied just in time for inclusion in their important report as this site was estimated to accommodate 68 houses!

The Parish Council have approved the continuation of funding the maintenance for the time being at their 2 Sept 2019 meeting.

–KW 9/10/19

If you wish to be kept informed of developments, have potential funding information to offer etc. do please register your interest.

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For those interested in retaining High House Wood Conservation Area.
Keith Woolford:
keith@friendsofhhw.uk | 0121 445 4619