Decisive action has been taken at a controversial site in Helensburgh which saw landowners uprooting large numbers of trees without permission.
In a highly unusual move, council contractors – escorted by police – entered the Cumberland Avenue site this morning.
Landowners Margery Osborne and Thomas Paterson have not complied with an official tree replacement notice, so workers representing Argyll and Bute Council moved onto the site to implement the notice directly.
The trees were initially felled nearly three years ago, and the council imposed a notice requiring them to be replanted; this was upheld by a Scottish Government Reporter, although the number of trees was reduced to 28 – this should have been implemented five months ago.
The contractors are initially clearing logs and debris from the areas that are to be replaced.
The action has been welcomed by Helensburgh Community Woodlands Group, who say the site should be cleaned up and restored as a public amenity for the public to enjoy.
Convenor David Adams said: “It is clear that Argyll and Bute Council has now lost patience with the antics of these two landowners.
“We have long called on the council to take robust action against their defiance of planning controls and it is heartening to see this happen.
“We trust that they will be made to reimburse the council for the full cost of the work undertaken this week, including all administrative expenses, as specified in the relevant legislation.”
The landowners have submitted a retrospective planning application for a fence at the site, but the council has now served two further enforcement notices, requiring the removal of the fence and building materials which have been stored on the site.