Friends of Freeman's Wood

To preserve and enhance Coronation Field and Freeman's Wood for the people of Lancaster.

This site provides a range of information to those interested in the future of Freeman's Wood and the surrounding area.

Navigate the site using the links accessible on the left of the page (large screen devices) or by opening the links menu by clicking in the top left corner (small screen devices)

Follow the continuing campaign to protect Freeman's Wood on social media by subscribing to the community facebook group and/or sign up to the excellent and informative newsletter!

April 2020: Community buyout of Freeman's Wood.

It’s exciting times for the Friends of Freeman’s Wood, as the current owners of Freeman's Wood (Lune Industrial Estate Ltd) have agreed to sell the land. This means that, for the first time, a community buyout is a real possibility.

The Friends of Freeman's Wood (FFW) committee, North Lancashire Community Land Trust (NLCLT) and Lancaster Green Spaces (LGS) are working together to make this possible. The idea is for NLCLT to buy the land using a loan, which FFW would pay back by the end of this year in return for control of the land - either through a management agreement, long-term lease or transfer of ownership. LGS would assist with fundraising, as they are a registered charity and can therefore claim Gift Aid on donations from taxpayers.

To purchase the land would cost around £60,000 (including legal fees), and it would also be desirable to raise a further amount to develop and implement a woodland management plan.

If the community buyout goes ahead, we would hope to raise some of the money from individual donors, and the rest from charitable grants. A big fundraising effort will be needed over the coming months.

What are the advantages of owning the land?

Freeman's Wood was granted Town Green status in Spring 2020, after a long battle by the local community. This status currently protects the land from development, but there is always a risk that the law could be changed to weaken or abolish this protection, or that the landowner could get planning permission to develop Freeman's Wood by providing an alternative piece of land for community use somewhere nearby.

If the community owned the land, we could guarantee its protection from development, and we would be able to manage the land in a way that benefits people and wildlife. The spiked metal fence that was erected in 2011 deters people from entering the woods and using the open space in the middle for recreation. We could make it more accessible and welcoming if we had control over the land.

Of course, this wonderful opportunity will bring extra responsibilities too. It will probably be necessary to change the legal status of Friends of Freeman's Wood - e.g. to become a Charitable Trust or Charitable Incorporated Organisation - to make it easier to raise funds, recruit trustees, manage volunteers and employ people if needed.

There is a lot to do, so we will need lots of FFW members to get involved and help make it happen. We will also need to consult widely on how the wood would be managed in future.

Please complete our quick survey to let us know what you think and whether you can help in any way.

Planning Application Withdrawn (Oct 2020)

FFW Press Release Appn WithdrawalOct2020 Final.docx

Success of the community campaign has had final confirmation as planning application officially withdrawn

Read the Lancaster Guardian story and the FFW press release to celebrate!

Freemans Wood SAVED! (Feb 2020)

As of Monday 10th February 2020 - Freeman’s Wood in the Marsh area of Lancaster has been successfully designated as a Town Green, following the unanimous decision made by a special sub-committee of Lancashire County Council.

Read the full press-release by 'Friends of Freeman's Wood' below

FFW Press Release 11.02.20 Town Green success.asd (2).docx.pdf

"The new status will protect this much-loved woodland from future development, preserving this important green space as a haven for wildlife and as a special place for local people to enjoy.”

Jon Barry, Cllr Gina Dowding and Cllr Mandy Bannon of FFW

Tree Damage at Freeman's Wood (May 2020)

On the 24th April, members of the local community were shocked to see bulldozers ripping out trees and shrubs on the boundary between Freeman’s Wood and the part of the industrial estate owned by Hurstwood Holdings. Freeman’s Wood is now protected from development as it has been awarded Town Green status following years of campaigning by Friends of Freeman’s Wood and local residents.

Mandy Bannon, Councillor for Marsh ward, said:

“I was shocked to find out about the tree destruction and contacted City Council Planning Officers straight away. They asked the developers to cease work, but the clearance continued despite this. A track has now been created along the boundary, and the removal of trees is clear to see. It’s heart-breaking - especially when the local community has worked so hard to protect this woodland as a natural green space.”

Jon Barry (who led led the campaign to secure Freeman’s Woods Town Green status) said “The destruction of dozens of trees and shrubs on the Freeman’s Wood boundary is mindless vandalism. It looks like the clearance work has affected trees which were covered by tree preservation orders and has encroached on the Town Green boundary too. It is especially upsetting that this demolition of wildlife habitat has taken place during the bird-nesting season. Many breeding birds will have been adversely affected, as will hedgehogs, deer, foxes and other animals that use the wood.”

The City Council has provided the following statement:

“Following complaints to the Council regarding damage and removal of trees, immediate contact was made with the developer, and a meeting has now taken place. “They [the developers] have been advised that the earth moving works and creation of a track do not have the necessary planning permission, and a full investigation [by the City Council] is taking place in respect of the removal and damage to trees in the area of the boundary between Freeman’s Wood and Lune Industrial Estate. It has been advised that any further works are now at their own risk.”

FFW Tree damage on boundary PR 5.5.20 MB Final.docx.pdf

Full statement on Tree damage

Friends of Freeman's Wood 5.5.2020