Volley of outrage over tennis star Konta’s plan to build in Pooh forest

The 27-year-old British number one wants to transform a bungalow in Ashdown Forest into a four-bed home for her parents.

But conservation charity the Woodland Trust has branded the plans “insensitive”, fearing the work will destroy some of the ancient woodland.

The Government’s National Planning Policy Framework says any development involving the destruction of ancient woodland should be refused “unless there are wholly exceptional reasons”.

Jack Taylor from the trust said: “The planning authority should call game, set and match on this insensitive application.

“Miss Konta’s desire for a new house in this location can in no way meet the wholly exceptional test.

“It could be sited anywhere within her grounds rather than being lobbed in the middle of precious habitat and we would urge her to reconsider.”

Ashdown Forest in East Sussex inspired author AA Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood, the setting for lovable bear Pooh’s adventures with Christopher Robin.

Miss Konta’s latest plan is her second attempt to build a house in the grounds of the forest.


A previous application was deemed “significantly detrimental and harmful to the character and appearance of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty” and rejected.

This time, an ecological assessment submitted to support Miss Konta’s latest proposal claims no trees would be felled and the land is “poor-quality habitat designated ancient woodland site”.

But the Woodland Trust says the forest is home to “one of the most dynamic and wildlife-rich ecosystems in the UK”.

Mr Taylor said: “Given the previous refusal for development on this site, it’s hard to under stand why Miss Konta seems intent on destroying this precious habitat.”


Protection for ancient woodland, defined as land that has been continuously wooded since 1600, was strengthened last month.

A spokesman for Miss Konta, who is competing in the Rogers Cup in Montreal this week, declined to comment.

A spokesman for planning authority Wealden council said: “No decision has been made.

“It’s being looked at and we are getting consultee responses.”

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