Berkshire development would "devastate" ancient deer park

More than 180 trees, many of veteran age, are threatened by a housing development within a remnant of a medieval deer park near Reading, while other older trees would also suffer, the Woodland Trust has said.

Image: Alan Pascoe (CC BY SA 2.5)
Image: Alan Pascoe (CC BY SA 2.5)

The trust has mounted a campaign to prevent the plan by Isle of Man-based Praxis Holdings to build 227 new houses in the 55-hectare Aldermaston Park. This would see the loss of 60 per cent of the trees in the application area, which covers 15 per cent of the park, it says.

Woodland Trust ancient tree specialist Jill Butler said: "This is an unprecedented planning application in terms of the devastating impact on an historic wood pasture and parkland, which is an incredibly valuable wildlife habitat."

Praxis is pursuing an "enabling development" with West Berkshire Council, saying the plans will fund restoration of the Grade II* listed Aldermaston Manor on the site, vacant since 2008, as well as the surrounding Grade II park and gardens, currently on Historic England's Heritage at Risk Register.

The site adjoins the former RAF Aldermaston, currently home to the Atomic Weapons Establishment.

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