Tennis star drops plans to build house at edge of Winnie The Pooh forest

Tennis star Johanna Konta has withdrawn an application to build a new house in the grounds of her property at the edge of Ashdown Forest following opposition from the Woodland Trust in the UK.

The 27-year-old had submitted the application to Wealden District Council to demolish an existing building and construct a four-bedroom one-and-a-half storey house at the site in Wych Cross, Forest Row, East Sussex.

The land is on the outskirts of the forest which is the setting for Winnie The Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood.

The Woodland Trust had objected to the sportswoman’s new application, claiming it would destroy part of an “irreplaceable habitat” of ancient woodland.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Johanna Konta in action at Wimbledon (John Walton/PA)</figcaption>
Johanna Konta in action at Wimbledon (John Walton/PA)

The charity had also suggested the application would contravene new planning guidance published by the Government last month.

Under the new National Planning Policy Framework, ancient woodland has been given the highest level of protection, meaning local authorities in England should now refuse development that is not considered “wholly exceptional” if it will result in the loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitats.

A previous application to build a new house at the site had been turned down by the local authority because it was deemed to be “significantly detrimental and harmful to the character and appearance of the High Weald Area of outstanding natural beauty”.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Winnie The Pooh being honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (PA)</figcaption>
Winnie The Pooh being honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (PA)

Woodland Trust lead campaigner Jack Taylor said: “We’re delighted Miss Konta has seen the advantage of precious ancient woodland.

“If she would like to discuss any future building plans with us or would like to get to know this vitally important habitat better, we would love to show her around it.”

A Wealden District Council spokesman confirmed that the application had been withdrawn.

Author AA Milne set his Winnie The Pooh adventures in Ashdown Forest after he used to watch his son Christopher Robin have adventures with his toys in the woods.

- Press Association

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