We have heard that GBC intends to sell off West Lodge, at the entrance to the Gunpowder Mills site in Blacksmith Lane.
We are very unhappy about this, and C2G took part in the discussion at St Martha Parish Council meeting on Wednesday, January 15.
The decision to sell West Lodge was made by the previous Council. They continue to consider the little building a commercial asset, and not part of the Gunpowder Mills story. We have always argued how important it is that West Lodge is preserved as part of the whole Gunpowder Mills site, and that it should remain in GBC ownership.
C2G has worked with Andrew Norris who will take a group of newly elected councillors around the site, to introduce them to this Scheduled Ancient monument. We are also writing to the leader of the new Councillor and other councillors to urge them to take West Lodge off the commercial register and instead list it as a Heritage site. We want to stop the sale, so that new councillors have a chance to reconsider the previous decision to sell, now that conservation, and the character of the Surrey Villages is higher up the Council’s agenda.
At the Gunpowder Mills meeting, in an informative talk by the GBC Countryside Warden, village attendees heard more about the devastation caused by the airborne fungus attacking ash trees in the UK.
The disease shows itself in lesions in the bark of the tree, a slow dying back from the end of the leaves leaving the extreme branches dead and exposed, and the potential for limbs to crack without warning as the disease progresses towards the core of the tree.
Following a survey of the site, GBC have concluded that the Gunpowder Mills area seems to have been particularly badly hit. It has undertaken a risk assessment of each tree, and, where the diseased trees pose a potential risk to the public, they will be removed, or reduced in size.
We were advised that contractors will be in the Gunpowder Mills in December; Visitors can expect some paths to be temporarily closed while dangerous trees are removed.
GBC stress that this exercise is in line with the Council’s duty of care to the public; all landowners have this responsibility.
Chilworth Gunpowder Mills Is a scheduled ancient monument. Enhance your visit to the Gunpowder Mills in their magic woodland set by downloading the following information and guided trail. See also a set of images showing the historic remains, shown under Gunpowder Mills Picture Gallery.
Thanks to Andrew Norris, Chilworth Gunpowder Group for the images, and to Glenys Crocker for permission to download the map.