A spirited resident made a passionate plea for ancient woodland to be retained for public use at an inquiry in Sheffield.
Dr Christina Perring, aged 68, of Cowley Lane, Chapeltown, gave evidence on day two of the public inquiry into plans to turn Smithy Wood in Chapeltown into a village green so it cannot be developed.
Residents want the woodland to be given ‘village green’ status but in order for it to be granted they must prove the woods have been well used for over 20 years.
Landowner St Paul’s Developments is objecting to the application and wants to build a £40 million motorway service station on the site.
Dr Perring told the public inquiry at Sheffield town hall she was a ‘regular visitor’ to Smithy Wood and walked her neighbours dogs there with her husband after they moved to Sheffield from York in 1996.
In her statement, Dr Perring said: “We love the area and after retirement we were able to walk nearly everyday.
“The more we walked in the wood the more we appreciated Smithy Wood.”
“Please keep Smithy Wood as it is.”
Mrs Perring said she often picked blackberries there in summer for making jam and would see children building dens and playing on rope swings.
The inquiry also heard from Carole Eccles, 77, of Glenwood Crescent, Chapeltown.
Mrs Eccles said she had lived in the area for 48 years and was a frequent visitor to the woodland walking her dogs or her grandchildren outdoors.
She said: “From an early age in Smithy Wood, I taught my grandchildren to appreciate and respect nature and what it has to offer.
“They would build dens and climb trees and play games like searching for lions and hide and seek.
She added her grandson, used the ‘rough terrain’ to train for entry to the RAF.
The inquiry continues.