Update: The application to the planning authority for tree works has now been withdrawn by the Golf Club.
Crowborough Beacon Golf Club have applied for permission to clear trees and invasive shrubs around their existing car park on Southview Road to create extra parking spaces.
The application form states the request has been made now to facilitate the site being used for Covid-19 testing. James Nairn, Secretary at Crowborough Beacon Golf Club said:
We are pleased to have been approached by East Sussex County Council about the siting of a Mobile Testing unit within our car park. Whilst we have limited available space, we are very happy to do anything that we can to support both the NHS and the local community throughout the pandemic.
The woodland is in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is common land and is subject to a Tree Preservation Order.
A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is a written order made by a local planning authority which, in general, makes it an offence to cut down, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or wilfully destroy a protected tree protected without the authority’s permission. For further information see Wealden District Council’s website: Protected Trees and Tree Preservation Orders.
The Public Health Service at the County Council have said the plan is for a mobile testing unit which would be in place for two or three days every month. An East Sussex County Council spokesman said:
Mobile testing units help meet more of the demand for tests, giving people with symptoms more options to check if they have the virus, and are part of the Department for Health and Social Care‘s efforts to increase testing capacity.
With representatives of the national Test and Trace programme, we are looking at options for further testing sites in East Sussex.
We are grateful to Crowborough Beacon Golf Club for their offer to allow a mobile Covid -19 testing unit on their site. These temporary units, in place for two to three days each month, play an important role in the national effort to give residents more opportunities to get tested locally.
There was no request or requirement from us or the Department for Health and Social Care to remove trees or vegetation from the site to make space for the unit, the existing car space was considered adequate to accommodate it.
The county council proposes possible sites for testing units to the DHSC which judges them against strict criteria. We do not propose sites for testing units which require any permanent changes to layout or access
A woodland habitat assessment, including identification of the species concerned and a management programme, has been submitted with the application to Wealden District Council. Click to see the application: Ref TM/2020/0317/TPO.
Until a location for a local Covid-19 testing site becomes operational, we are encouraged to still continue to follow the NHS advice to prevent the spread of the coronavirus:
We can all work together in East Sussex to restrict the virus in our communities. If you have symptoms, arrange a test as soon as you can, and self-isolate immediately if you or others in your household develop symptoms. Meanwhile, we should all follow NHS guidance on hand-washing, face-covering and keeping social distance.