Eco campaigners warn against proposed new £350m Center Parcs they claim will ‘destroy’ ancient woods

  • Watch the report by ITV Meridian's James Dunham, with pictures from Center Parcs.

A £350 million plan to create a Center Parcs in Sussex would destroy an irreplaceable landscape, according to five environmental groups who've come together to oppose the plans.

The holiday resort would be built in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in woodland south of Crawley, at Oldhouse Warren.

Center Parcs said the site would be built on an 550 acre area and that they take the ecology of forests extremely seriously.

Michael Brown, Sussex Wildlife Trust said: "I'm sure that Center Parcs can very sensitively and with a lot of experience, knock down a lot of trees. But, this is an ancient woodland, it's been here for four hundred or more years, probably a lot longer than that.

"You simply cannot cut down swathes of ancient woodland over a 553 acre site."

  • Michael Brown, Sussex Wildlife Trust:

Environmentalists fear that trees would be brought down and breeding areas for rare birds such as Goshawks and Marsh Tits and Firecrests would be destroyed.

Jack Taylor, Woodland Trust said: "Ancient woodlands are one of our richest terrestrial habitats, that's home to so many sensitive species and a lot of the time, these species are really vulnerable and are really sensitive to change.

"They rely on ancient woods as their habitat and they can't live elsewhere. They need these places for their survival."

  • Jack Taylor, Woodland Trust:

Center Parcs said: "We take our responsibility to the environment and forests extremely seriously. We have more than 30 years experience of of sensitively managing the woodlands in which our villages are located, carefully nurturing and maintaining the forests to protect and enhance biodiversity."

Environmentalists said they are not against a new resort - just as long as it's not built on the current site.