Planners have been urged to take ‘decisive action’ against landowners who have ignored a legal notice for them to replant trees.
It is now two and a half years since woodland at Cumberland Avenue in Helensburgh was felled, despite it being covered by a tree preservation order.
Earlier this year Argyll and Bute Council served a tree replacement notice on Margery Osborne and Thomas Paterson, requiring them to replant 109 trees on the site.
The landowners appealed against this and the number was reduced to 28 by a Scottish Government Reporter, but the notice still required the ground to be prepared for replanting (including the removal of debris) by November 15, as well as the trees being planted – to date no action has been taken to comply with this.
Now the Helensburgh Community Woodlands Group (HCWG) has pointed out that the council is allowed to enter the site, plant the trees and recover expenses from the landowners.
The group has written to council leader Dick Walsh and David Kinniburgh, chair of the planning, protective services and licensing committee, urging them to make sure there are no further delays – it is expected the a report will go befor councillors later this month.
David Adams, HCWG convenor, said: “The credibility of council enforcement procedures are now at stake, since what happens at Cumberland Avenue will be noted by others across Argyll and Bute who might also be tempted to defy planning and access legislation.
“The continued failure of these two owners to abide by legislative requirements has created a running sore for the local community. The sooner the council takes decisive action, the better.”
The group says the council should also take action over other alleged breaches of legislation at the site:
- The erection by the landowners of a two-metre high fence without any application for planning permission
- The use of part of the site for the storage of building materials
- The closure of access to the site (which is designated as an Open Space Protection Area) contrary to the Land Reform Act 2003.
The pictures of the site here have been supplied by HCWG: