Trees stripped away on a piece of land in March where planning permission was refused - because no survey was carried out to prove the development would not harm the trees

All the trees gone from the site at Gas Road. Picture: Steve Williams.

All the trees gone from the site at Gas Road. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Trees at a mini nature site in March were stripped away just weeks after planning permission was refused for an emergency electricity plant there.

All the trees gone from the site at Gas Road. Left: Bevis Harpham and Malcolm Gray. Picture: Steve

All the trees gone from the site at Gas Road. Left: Bevis Harpham and Malcolm Gray. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Among the reasons for refusing the application were fears of it spoiling the trees and wildlife.

The land in Gas Road is owned by National Grid, but in September last year, UK Power Reserves applied for planning permission for an industrial building to house a 200mw electricity generation plant.

Fenland District Council planners turned the idea down in October because the building was too big, there were fears of noise and pollution, plus the plan did not include a survey to show there would be no ”adverse impact” on trees and protected species on-site.

Springfield Avenue resident, 91-year-old Bevis Harpham, who was among objectors, and his son-in-law Malcolm Gray, were last year pictured by the tree-packed site that now lies empty and covered in a stone topping.

Malcolm Gray and father in law Bevis Harpham in Springfield Avenue, March. Picture: Steve Williams.

Malcolm Gray and father in law Bevis Harpham in Springfield Avenue, March. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant


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Mr Gray said: “How sad to see it all go. My father-in-law used to feed the birds. Now they have virtually disappeared. It was all done in a weekend. One minute a lovely green area full of foliage, the next, nothing.”

The trees were taken down at the end of last year, weeks after the planning application was rejected.

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A spokesman for UK Power Reserves said it did not own the land and once the planning application had failed it had not had any involvement in the land.

Planners said reasons for refusing the site were: “The application has not taken into account the constraints of the site and has failed to prove a number of key issues, namely, impact on local residents, impact on protected species and impact on trees.

Springfield Avenue, March. Picture: Steve Williams.

Springfield Avenue, March. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

“The development is also out of scale with the neighbouring buildings by reason of its height and overall footprint.

“It is considered that the site is not suitable for its intended use which is an industrial use in a residential area.”

A petition of 52 signatures opposed the scheme.

A spokesman for Fenland District Council said there were no protections on the trees on site, they were not in a conservation area and there were no tree preservation orders on the site.

A National Grid spokesman said: “National Grid owns land. Most of this land is no longer used for gas operations, except for one area where there is a gas pressure reduction station, which plays an important role in gas supplies for the area. National Grid has an obligation to keep its sites safe and tidy.

“Last November, work was carried out at the Gas Road site to remove overgrown trees and shrubs, including branches overhanging neighbouring properties, and to put down a layer of stone. We held a public information event so we could explain the work and answer any questions from local people. An environmental assessment was carried out and an ecologist attended the works to ensure the work would not disturb nesting birds or other wildlife.

“We would expect the site to be sold at some point in the future.

“This work was not connected to a planning application submitted by UK Power Reserve and we planned to carry out this work regardless of any planning application submitted by other parties for this site.”

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