The parcel of land that Coillte are selling. Photo: Hodnett Forde

Coillte to meet residents over woods sale

Coillte are set to sell a portion of Ballymartle Woods. 9 hectares of the woods are for sale for a price of €120,000 while the entirety of Ballymartle Woods is 40 hectares according to the forestry body.

Andrew O’Connell started a petition against the sale of Ballymartle Woods which has now reached almost 1,100 signatures.

He contacted Cork County Councillor Ben Dalton O Sullivan who arranged for Independent South West TD Michael Collins to arrange a meeting between Coillte and local residents. There is no date for that meeting as yet.

Andrew said that he has joined forces with the Clontead Way Committee who have developed a footpath for the woods, which is currently being worked on.

That footpath is set to be completed by the end of 2021.

“Our concern is that it will hinder our only local amenity,” Andrew explained.

“As this is impacting the environment and the local community, we want clarity on the following items: Who is buying this area? What is the actual reason for the purchase? What written assurances can we get from the purchasing party, that it will remain woodland?” Mr O’Connell added that local residents are concerned at the lack of information and consultation from Coillte prior to the sale signs going up.

Coillte said last week that “the area proposed for sale contains no recreational trails used by the public”.

Mr O’Connell pointed out that “the proposed area for sale is actually used by the Archery Club within the woods so it will have a direct impact on them”.

Coillte have said that they were originally approached by an interested party seeking to purchase nine hectares of land at Ballymartle Woods “with a view to potentially creating a woodland accommodation and recreational offering”.

Coillte also said it “understands the area would remain under forest were the sale to proceed”.

Cork South West TD Holly Cairns (Social Democrats) met with residents on Monday to discuss the proposed sale.