A WOODLAND centre used by foster children and Scouts can stay put – for now.

The educational centre made up of wooden outbuildings, including a small assault course, is located in Little Goosehill Wood at Hanbury, near Droitwich.

Michael Banham applied for retrospective permission to keep the site, which is in a woodland clearing and has been running for about eight years.

The wood, classed as ancient replanted woodland, was originally used by Harris Brush, which used the timber it produced to manufacture brushes, but was sold off some years ago.

The application caused lively debate among Wychavon councillors after hearing from objector and resident Yuleen Jewell, who said the buildings had threatened wildlife, notably the Bechstein’s bat variety.

“We believe the council has failed to apply planning policy effectively,” she said, referring to planning officers’ recommendations for conditional approval.

“There are numerous facilities of this type to meet the needs. The council should refuse or face legal challenge as it has a statutory obligation to protect this site.”

The Forestry Commission, Woodland Trust and Worcestershire Wildlife Trust all said the site could have been better placed.

Councillor Barrie Parmenter said it was the sixth application by Mr Banham that has been retrospective.

“He’s treating us as though we don’t exist; he does what he likes,” he said.

However Gill Collin, Wychavon planning chief, said previous applications had been refused.

Coun Adrian Darby said the bat risk was low and added: “I don’t think that gives us grounds to refuse.” Coun Audrey Steel said: “Looking at what the forestry and wildlife groups are saying, this is not the right facility to be in woodland.”

But Coun Rob Adams said: “Mrs Steel, I remember on a previous application, you spoke positively with words to the effect that in your younger days you spent time courting huntsmen in the woods.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with an application which gets kids out in the countryside.”

It was proposed and agreed that the site is granted temporary permission for three years so it can be monitored.