Chantry Wood campsite to remain open

The Council's Executive have agreed that Chantry Wood campsite in the Surrey Hills AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) will remain open for use by the public.

A non-exclusive licence for a new forest school facility on the site may be granted in future with continued shared use for camping and use by community groups and families at weekends and in holiday periods, subject to further discussions with the local community over the next 12 months. The Executive will make a final decision on the site's use once a further report is brought forward for consideration.   

The decision was taken at a special meeting of the Executive on 7 March following a consultation with local residents and groups.

Cllr David Bilbe, Lead Cllr for Enterprise and Economic Development comments: "We consulted with local people on the future options for Chantry Wood campsite and have listened to their feedback on the proposals. Their views have helped inform the way forward.

"We want to safeguard Chantry Wood and its surrounding landscape for everyone to enjoy. We have carefully considered the activities that could be delivered at Chantry Wood campsite. A forest school may be established, and public camping will continue once required maintenance works are complete. We will be in touch with all those who made provisional bookings for 2019 to confirm their bookings will go ahead in accordance with the current waiting list."

The decision made by the Executive was as follows:

1) That, subject to paragraph (2) below and a further report to and decision of the Executive, the proposal to lease Chantry Wood campsite (Barn and firepits) to a forest school operator, as approved provisionally by the Executive on 8 January 2019, be amended to a proposal to grant a non-exclusive licence(s) in respect of the Chantry Wood Campsite for use as a forest school, with the continued shared use for camping and use by community groups and families at weekends and in holiday periods

(2) That the proposal referred to in paragraph (1) above be delayed for 12 months, during which time the Council shall:

(a) undertake further discussions with the local community to seek to ascertain a preferred option for the future management of the campsite, including other options in terms of the educational aspects relating to woodland and countryside awareness;

(b) undertake as soon as practicable the minimum level of works to the building to make it weatherproof and secure in 2019 for continued use as a campsite;

(c) confirm provisional bookings for the campsite for 2019;

(d) undertake further monitoring of usage of the campsite;

(e) engage with potential operators to establish the future viability of a forest school operating a campsite at Chantry Wood Campsite, and that this be reviewed by the Executive once responses are received; and

(f) postpone the proposed small-scale refurbishment and upgrade works pending the review of responses received from potential forest school operators.

Published on Monday 11 March.