October 2015: Removal of Cumberland Avenue Log Pile ordered by Scottish Government

HCWG’s longstanding campaign to restore the former woodland at Cumberland Avenue has been boosted by an appeal decision from the Scottish Government issued on 22 October. This confirmed the notice issued by Argyll and Bute Council giving the landowners four months to remove the large pile of logs left on the site since the woodland was felled in April and May 2011.

In making this decision, the Scottish Government Reporter stated that “The log pile, and the trunks and branches comprising it, are substantial in scale and visually prominent in views from Cumberland Avenue and adjoining residential properties. I do not regard the log pile as a feature that would be expected or characteristic of an open area within a residential environment. I find it to be visually incongruous, and to detract from the appearance of the site and the character of the locality.” These arguments had long been put forward by HCWG and were eventually supported by the Council.

Unfortunately, a second Section 179 notice, requiring the removal of an adjacent bund or mound of debris was quashed by the same Reporter who said “Overall, I do not find the bund to be visually incongruous or obtrusive so as to detract from the appearance of the site or the character of the locality. Its presence on the land does not adversely affect the amenity of the area, and the appeal therefore succeeds.”

Significantly, the Reporter’s opinion about the bund was not shared by the 318 people who signed the HCWG petition to Argyll and Bute Council in April 2015, nor by the four local councillors who supported our campaign, nor by the 11 elected councillors sitting on the Council’s PPSL Committee who unanimously decided that the owners should be required to remove the bund.

Even so, HCWG’s campaigns have resulted in significant improvements at Cumberland Avenue over the past two years with building materials unlawfully stored on the site taken away, new trees planted by the local authority, the perimeter fence reduced in height and with the removal of the log pile now in prospect.

For more information see:

For Argyll:
Government Reporter offers curate’s egg to Helensburgh Community Woodlands Group in developer’s appeals

Lochside Press:
Appeal decision ‘brings planning process into disrepute’ claims woodland group

Helensburgh Advertiser:
Logs must be cleared [510KB PDF]

Scottish Government appeal decision on the log pile
Scottish Government appeal decision on the bund or mound of debris