Campaigners fighting a holiday village at Delamere Forest believe there is a ‘high’ chance a visitor would have been killed or seriously injured if the proposed log cabins had been occupied during last week’s storms.
The Forestry Commission was forced to close the forest due to the havoc wreaked by the gales although it is now being reopened on a phased basis.
Campaign group CADD (www.CADD.me.uk) says the storm damage raises serious implications for the Forestry Commission/Forest Holidays scheme which recently received planning consent for 70 log cabins in the green belt.
The final decision will follow a public inquiry taking place this summer after the scheme was ‘called in’ as a departure from national policy.
Lead campaigner Nigel Gilding said: “If holiday makers had been in lodges on Wednesday evening, the likelihood is that there would have been some very serious consequences for property or life in Delamere.
“The mix of trees coming down in Kingswood coupled with the remoteness of the site for emergency response could have resulted in a disaster that doesn’t bear thinking about.
“Our observations and warnings are justified by the fact that the Forestry Commission chose to close the forest afterwards. It is difficult to see how this development can ‘tick the boxes’ on health and safety grounds – surely the application that would have put around 400 people in grave danger, should now be withdrawn altogether.”
Andrea Peattie, a partnerships executive at Forest Holidays, did not wish to comment.
The public inquiry examining the planning application is due to last four days and starts at the council chamber in Winsford on June 17.
Blakemere Moss and the Green Trail at Delamere Forest are now open along with Linmere car park, Delamere Cafe, Tracs Bike Hire, Go Ape, Forest Explorers and Delamere Outdoor Fitness.