Holmehill Community Buyout

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Trees above the Cathedral

Tree Reinstatement

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After the illegal tree felling in June 2013, we began an 18-month struggle to repair the damage.

In October 2013 Stirling Council made a Tree Preservation Order (LD/TRE/2/78) covering all of the mature trees on the Hill.   The Council's Tree Officer, Ingrid Withington, explained "it is an offence under the Town and Country (Scotland) Act 1997, for any person in contravention of a TPO to cut down, uproot, wilfully destroy a tree or wilfully damage, top or lop a tree in such manner as to be likely to destroy it without the consent of the planning authority."

Previously the trees on the hill had Conservation Area status.   This meant that the proprietor had to give notice to the planning authority before cutting down or working on a tree.   With a Tree Preservation Order the protection is stronger: the proprietor has to obtain the active consent of the authority before starting work.

The Council asked the landowner to replant new trees before the 31st of March 2014: this deadline passed without replanting.   He continued to cut trees without permission, and fenced-off the area to prevent public access.

In July 2014 the Council issued an order requiring the landowner to make good the damage by replanting 20 trees of specified types.   No such planting took place, and in October the Council declared its intention to carry out the replanting itself, at the owner's expense.   At the eleventh hour the landowner organised the work himself.

In November 2014 the landowner's workmen scraped bare the unwooded areas at the top of the hill, removing all vegetation and leaving unsightly piles of roots.

During the whole of the period public access to the area was blocked by high Heras fencing lining the route of the Core Path.   One success for the community: the fencing was removed in January 2015, just before our Petition to Stirling Council for the fence's removal was due to be heard.

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Content: 7th November 2015