Outrage as rare ancient tree in Renton is chopped down to make way for housing

by | Jul 1, 2015 | Featured Slider, Latest, News

A furious Renton woman claims a majestic and rare ancient tree was chopped down unnecessarily.

Angela Brown said the lime tree – thought to be between 150 and 200 years old – was not in the way of a new housing development and did not require to be felled.

Mrs Brown also slammed West Dunbartonshire Council, which, she said, did nothing to try to save the tree, despite repeated pleas from her to various members of staff.

The tree, which was recently cut down, was located behind and between Renton Masonic Lodge and Renton Trinity Parish Church in Alexander Street. Caledonia Housing Association is building three houses and 11 flats on the site, just off John Street and Dalquhurn Lane.

Mrs Brown, who lives in Alexander Street, said: “I think this is terrible – it is absolutely awful and it’s so unfair. This is something I believe in and I’m passionate about.

“This tree was part of our history and part of our area. I really think it’s sad they they couldn’t have made space to preserve this big tree that is maybe 200 years old and was in very healthy condition.

“I phoned the planning depart­ment and spoke to people there but I was just fobbed off. No-one seemed to be interested in listening to me. I called to see if anyone had checked on the tree and the site before they took it down but I couldn’t seem to get through to anyone. I couldn’t get anyone to help me.

“I went up to the planning office in Clydebank and showed them the plans but that did no good. I’m sure they could have found a way round the problem to save that beautiful tree. I blame the planners for this.

“One of the builders said the tree actually did not need to come down as it wasn’t in the way of anything and the houses were being built further down.

“If it had been a run of the mill tree, I wouldn’t have been so bothered but this was a lime tree and very rare for this part of the country. That’s why I was angry.

“I know progress goes on but there was an awful lot of wildlife in that area and this tree was home to a lot of birds. It’s important for people to stand up to progress because sometimes we have to think about wildlife and the environment.”

A spokesman for West Dun­barton­shire Council said: “Plan­ning permission to build three terraced houses and 11 flats was granted for this area in February, with this tree identified for removal in the original plans. The tree is not covered by a tree prevention order and is not located within a conservation area. While we aim to try to keep as many trees as possible when developing sites, this is not always possible. As part of this development new trees will be planted adjacent to John Street and along the access into the site.”

A spokeswoman for Caledonia Housing Association added: “We can confirm that the removal of the large tree at the John Street site is in accordance with the proposals approved as part of the planning application for this site. The plans were given approval by West Dunbartonshire Council.

“The tree and its roots would have interfered with the foundations for some of the properties to be built on the site, and has always been shown as being removed as part of our works.”