Residents have submitted plans to turn Oak Woodland in Rougham Hill, Bury St Edmunds, into a community asset.
Friends of Oak Community Woodland are offering to run the Suffolk County Council owned woodland on behalf of the local community.
Adrian Williams, chairman of the group, said: “Our action in attempting to register the land as a community asset is to secure this green space in the gave of its possible destruction to enable a five pitch, 15 dwelling traveller site to be built in its place. Our friends from the Green Light Trust and Woodland Ways community group have stressed that it would be a travesty to cut down a 40 year old woodland with some ancient trees and hedgerows just as a new residential community is being created next to it, among whom will be many who would wish to take advantage of it and would be keep to help it develop.”
Councillor Sarah Stamp said she ‘wholeheartedly’ supported the plans.
But Michael Hargreaves, solicitor for the travellers hoping to move to Rougham Hill, said the wood was little used and the application simply a way to block travellers from moving to the area.
“The council accepts that it will be replaced by much more useful, attractive and larger area of open space and woodland as part of proposals for that area.
“They are not doing it to protect a woodland, but to deny a family a home. How can travellers become part of society if they are subjected to this kind of pressure?”