Campaigners stand firm over bike trails after heated meeting
STRONG words were spoken at a meeting where controversial plans for a café and mountain bike trails in Plymbridge Woods were being discussed.
Nearly 100 members of The Friends of Plymbridge Woods group gathered at Mainstone Community Centre last night where they decided to continue their battle to stop the National Trust building mountain bike trails in the popular woodland area.
The community hall was packed out with people opposing the plans, some even having to stand, as chairman Arthur Ainslie addressed the group about recent developments.
Although initial plans submitted by the environmental charity included creating a 15km track, cafe, and cycle hub at the beauty spot, Mr Ainslie informed the group that the Trust was now only looking to build a 4km track in Plymbridge Woods with a further 6km track in nearby Cann Woods.
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One campaigner said: "I'm opposed to all of it. The National Trust is well out of order. It was never formed to run a fun fair like what they're proposing. They were designed to preserve the countryside and the wildlife and that's what they should be doing."
When asked whether he thought the group should look at compromising with the Trust, Mr Ainslie replied: "My view is that we've only got as far as we have by being strong and saying that we don't want these bike trails. If we compromise we are compromising our own argument."
Alison Casey and Mike Fox, both Labour councillors for the Moorview ward, were also in attendance.
Cllr Fox said: "As councillors we have to look after the interests of all residents in Moorview, however we do have a personal opinion and that is that you don't mix mountain bikers with walkers and wildlife."
Many campaigners raised concerns about safety in the woods if the plans, which are likely to be re-submitted to the council by the end of the year, are given the go-ahead.
Mr Ainslie said: "This will be a long drawn out affair I'm sure but tonight is a demonstration that we're not going away. About 100 people gave a very clear mandate in support of their position which is they do not want any mountain bike trails in Plymbridge Woods. However they would welcome money being spent on improving the facilities in the woods for current users and especially the disabled."