‘Sacrosanct’ woodland has been chopped and changed with three developments built within just half a mile of each other over the last year.
That is the view of the Hastoe Club and Residents’ Association which held a crisis meeting about Wickes Wood and High Scrubs Wood last week.
One resident, who chose to remain anonymous, said: “There have been three developments in the last year that the planning authorities have allowed, to the detriment of the environment and the local people and I wish to know why this has occurred.
“Are the planning authorities powerless because of under-funding, changes in the law or because they wish to see this area urbanised?”
Residents have raised their concerns with Dacorum Borough Council after a fence and on-site accommodation was given the green light for Wickes Wood. Small holdings and metal roads have been built throughout High Scrubs Wood.
There are also concerns over noise from weddings held in Wick Farm Woods which according to the association is affecting Wick Farm, Kiln Road, Browns Lane, Church Lane and Wigginton homes.
Another resident said: “We thought these woods were sacrosanct but this appears to have gone out of the window.”
At the well-attended meeting last week, the Hastoe Club & Residents’ Association expressed its concern about the recent developments in what is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
A spokesman for the association said: “The division of High Scrubs Wood into small segments, apparently to be sold for inheritance tax avoidance purposes, represents a threat not only to its enjoyment by walkers and other visitors but more importantly to the abundant wildlife of the area.
“The ancient monument of the Grim’s Ditch passes through High Scrubs.
“Equally disturbing to local residents is the noise pollution of amplified music resulting from the development of part of Wick Farm Woods as a venue for woodland weddings.”
The association said that its chairman, Penny Ridgwell, is in talks with Dacorum Borough Council with a view to ‘limiting the environmental damage being caused by these developments’.
A spokesman for Dacorum Borough Council said there are currently no planning applications for further work at Wickes Wood or High Scrubs Wood.