On the outskirts of Grantham, Lincolnshire, a young wood is earmarked for destruction to make way for thousands of new houses. 

The Prince William of Gloucester Barracks is currently overseen by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, part of the Ministry of Defence. The site was a place of celebration in 2012-13 when the armed forces, local community and Trust staff came together to mark The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with a new native wood. But now development plans could destroy the trees that took root less than a decade ago.

The army is set to relocate, so the government house-building agency, Homes England, has been tasked with designing plans for at least 3,500 new homes on the site.

of the wood could be lost
That's around 67,000 trees.

Amended plans are worse for woodland

We first saw plans in 2016 that indicated a loss of around 60% of the woodland. We raised our concerns at the time and were informed that Homes England would continue work and produce further designs. But in terms of woodland impact, the latest plans are even worse. The most recent masterplan indicates a huge 80% of the woodland would be lost - almost 60ha. 

This is heartbreaking, especially on the doorstep of the Trust’s Grantham HQ. The wood was planted to benefit future generations and now we face the prospect of most of these trees being cut down before they have even had chance to mature. 

What do we need to see?

South Kesteven District Council’s Local Plan provides guidelines for new development at this site. They recognise that while there is capacity for 3,500 to 4,000 new homes, new development must respect and minimise impacts on the existing woodland. They must also incorporate networks of multifunctional green spaces. 

It's been suggested that trees could be planted elsewhere to make up for the losses, but ​this must not be regarded as a get out of jail free card - it does not replace the value of ​the felled trees to people and local wildlife. Any additional planting should be close to the barracks site to benefit the local environment and local people.

Join us in pressing for the plans to include: 

  1. the preservation of as many trees as possible. A revised masterplan should be drawn up, with a ‘retention first’ approach.  
  2. a true woodland-centred development, with trees and woodland allowed to flourish and create a functioning woodland ecosystem. 

Our wildlife is under pressure and we urgently need to tackle climate change. Government agencies should not be designing new development that would result in such significant loss of woodland, regardless of its age. South Kesteven's District Council’s tree cover of 12.6% is well below the 16% average for England. However, with Lincolnshire's overall tree cover at just 5%, any large-scale loss of trees, no matter their age, has significance at a county level. Every tree counts.

The consultation has now closed

Homes England's public consultation on the proposed development ended on 25 June 2021. We’re still working hard behind the scenes to save as many of these trees as we can and will keep you updated.