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Change of Land Use from Residential
to Open Space and Woodland
(Black Country Urban Forest)

Following subsidence issues across the estate which were primarily over an underground opencast highwall (a mining feature where the solid rock creates a steep wall under softer soil layers) the council approved a change of land use under Planning Application P00/51751 on 15th December 2000.

This was done as part of the Black Country Urban Forest:

The Black Country Urban Forest (BCUF) is a project to make urban forestry the characteristic landscape of one of England's industrial areas, The Black Country.

It is not a forest in the modern sense of a large area of managed woodland. It is closer to the old concept of a Royal forest – a large area of land with many different land uses and activities, except that instead of being dedicated to the enjoyment of the privileged few, the BCUF is an amenity for all the people, from all backgrounds, that live in it.

The BCUF resulted from the “Millennium Forest”, the most ambitious urban forestry project ever undertaken in the UK – a huge program of urban tree planting and management of urban woodlands, creating a tremendous increase in the area of woodland in the area.

The Millennium Forest project was funded by the UK's Millennium Fund, matched by regeneration funding from the UK government and Europe, grants from the Forestry Commission and many other sources. The total cost was over £7 million.

Responsibility for the Black Country Urban Forest is now shared between Groundwork Black Country and the landowners, each of whom entered into a 99-year deed of dedication, a legal agreement with the Millennium Commission.

Further details from this change of land use from the planning application as follows:

  • It is proposed to carry out woodland planting on the site, in two areas separated by the public footpath. This will be an Urban Forestry project with some 2,600 trees of  various species being planted.

  • The margins to the woodland planting shall be seeded with a low maintenance wildflower meadow mix, details of which shall be first approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority during the first available planting season following tree planting.

  • To safeguard the visual amenities of the area and to safeguard the amenities of the occupiers of adjacent dwellings.

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