Brucehill resident’s anger after trees overlooking garden are chopped down

A Brucehill resident has spoken of her devastation after returning from holiday to discover trees overlooking her garden had been chopped down.

Cathy Hunter’s family have lived in the Firthview Terrace property for 80 years, with her garden flanked by trees growing on Clerkhill.

However, she was left horrified after developers clearing the site for a new housing development chopped down the trees overlooking her garden.

It comes a week after the Lennox Herald reported on community anger after around 30 protected trees were hacked down nearby, which developers Slate Island Developments insist was “unintentional”.

But the actions have drawn a furious response from community groups, who campaigned successfully for a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) to be introduced and are now calling for planning permission to be revoked.

Although the trees bordering Cathy’s garden were not subject to Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs), which covered others on the site, she says that she was told by Slate Island Developments that they would escape the chop.

Cathy told the Lennox: “My family have stayed here for 80 years and the trees have been there for that time.

“I was away on holiday when it happened.

“I came back and there were no trees, bushes or anything at all left behind.

“It’s quite stark.

“When I spoke to the planning department they said that they shouldn’t have touched the trees because they aren’t near the new homes’ gardens.

“It wasn’t a preserved tree, but they did say that they would keep the ones on the border of Brucehill. And they haven’t. “They’ve obliterated them.

“I was absolutely gutted when I came back and saw it.

“It’s an insult to those who campaigned against it.”

Slate Island Developments, owned by Sandy Easdale is building 81 homes on land at the former Notre Dame Convent in partnership with Miller Homes after West Dunbartonshire Council granted permission last month.

The proposals received 231 objections amid concerns from residents and community groups over the loss of mature trees and effects to the adjacent Havoc meadows nature conservation area.

A spokeswoman for Slate Island Developments Limited last week apologized for the mistake, and said they were working with West Dunbartonshire Council to seek a solution.

However, Cathy now believes that the developers have lost the trust of the community.

She continued: “We knew it was going to go ahead, but at least if some of the trees were saved then we would have achieved something.

“The lack of trust is the big thing.

“They have committed to compromise and they haven’t done that.”

Cathy added that she is also seeking clarity about who has responsibility for the wall backing onto the new site, which she fears is dangerous.

She added: “Now that they are clearing it you can see the wall.

“And it’s in some mess on the other side.

“We’ve tried to maintain our side, but nobody has taken ownership of the other side.

“The council asked me if I knew who owned it, but I assumed they would know who was responsible for maintaining

“It has never been maintained by whoever owned the land, and it could eventually become a health and safety issue should children use the wall – which often happens.

A spokeswoman for West Dunbartonshire Council said: “An officer from the council spoke to the resident during a site visit and we would encourage her to contact the council directly to discuss any concerns with the boundary wall.”

Slate Island Developments declined to comment.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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