The new owners of Lagg Wood on the southern outskirts of Hassocks say they are “delighted and somewhat surprised” to find themselves exchanging contracts at auction on “this wonderful piece of woodland.”
The owners, from Brighton, have given their Christian names as Paul and Sue, but are keen to maintain their anonymity.
However, they have set up a website to reassure Hassocks villagers that they have no intention of fencing off the wood.
They say on their ‘Home’ page: “We met representatives of the Hassocks Amenity Association and assured them that we have no intention of preventing access or developing the area in any way.
“We aim to keep this beautiful spot intact and open for the enjoyment of local residents. Our intention is to maintain and manage the wood and its adjoining meadow under the advice of the Woodland Trust. If you have any questions or concerns please contact us via this site. Paul and Sue.”
Hassocks Amenity Association raised £82,000 in an emergency appeal to buy the wood for the village but it went for £122,000 at auction at the end of October.
Margaret Ford, chair of the Association, said: “Initially we were shattered, but then we met Sue, the new owner and to our delight she immediately said that her aim was to conserve this ancient woodland with its chalk stream. Subsequently, she has been kind enough to confirm her intentions in writing to us. This is truly a win-win situation.
“In retrospect, Hassocks Amenity Association is thankful that it was there to mobilise public support for an urgent cause and, as a voluntary community group, able to act speedily in a way prohibited by the legislation which binds our statutory authorities.”
The only controversy left is the spelling of the wood’s name. Historically, it is known as ‘Lagg Wood’ but the spelling on modern maps is ‘Lag’.
Sue and Paul’s website is at: http://lagwood.wordpress.com/