Land row has put councillors at war

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From left: East Hampshire district councillors Trevor Maroney, Sally Pond, Paul Wigman, Phillip Davies and Neville Taylor ()

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A CON-DEM coalition has condemned Whitehill Town Council for taking over management of the Bordon Inclosure and the Deadwater Valley Local Nature Reserve.

Trevor Maroney, Sally Pond, Paul Wigman, Phillip Davies, Neville Taylor and Adam Carew – the Conservative and Liberal Democrat district councillors representing Whitehill, Bordon and Lindford – said they were united in their concern at the decision.

In a statement on Sunday they said the trust was set up to manage the Deadwater Valley and had done so successfully for 30 years.

The district councillors added that money paid to the trust to manage the Bordon Inclosure mainly came from contributions by developers. They questioned the town council’s right to act unilaterally over the nature reserve as a “significant portion” of it was owned by Hampshire County Council.

The six councillors feared the decision could harm the Hogmoor Inclosure: “The Deadwater Valley Trust also manages Hogmoor Inclosure, this is not under town council control.

“The future of the trust may itself be significantly impacted by the loss of these two contracts in terms of its ability to operate with significantly less funds and a greatly reduced ranger team.”

In conclusion, they added: “We urge the town council to engage quickly and constructively with the Deadwater Valley Trust, all relevant landowners, Natural England, district and county councils to consult openly at full council.”

Town council leader Cllr Andy Tree said he had updated the five Whitehill & Bordon district councillors by an email three days earlier in which he praised their “genuine cross-party professionalism”.

He added: “None of them have made contact to discuss. The questions asked were surely already answered by my email. I clearly stated the next steps to them.

“They appear to have taken my proposals and spun them as their proposals, such as consulting with experts like Natural England.

“I am not sure what the public will make of the Lib Dems supporting the Conservatives to attack the local Whitehill & Bordon Community Party-led town council. It is blatant political opportunism.

“We are in a dialogue with the Deadwater Valley Trust and plan to outline positive proposed next steps at our executive committee meeting on November 11.”

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