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May 2015: Partial victory in campaign to Clear Out That Mess

Helensburgh Community Woodlands Group - Clear Out That Mess Campaign
Following HCWG’s campaign to secure the removal of all the logs and debris left behind from the Cumberland Avenue felling four years ago, we understand that Argyll and Bute Council now intends to serve notices before the end of May requiring the landowners to clear out the large pile of logs near the road along with the adjacent mound of debris.

This must be just the first step in getting rid of all the mess left from the 2011 felling. All the other mounds are equally unsightly and dangerous, and they must all be removed. They certainly have no long-term place in a designated Open Space Protection Area. We trust Council planners will soon respond to the strength of local feeling about this, as shown by the recent petition and fully supported by Jackie Baillie MSP and our local councillors, Maurice Corry, Aileen Morton, Gary Mulvaney and James Robb, and make sure the job is finished in full.

For more information, see:

For Argyll: Novel skillset discovered in Argyll and Bute Council Planning Committee

Helensburgh Advertiser: ‘Eyesore’ tree debris finally to be removed [PDF – 3.3MB]

April 2015: Widespread political and public support for campaign to “Clear out that Mess!!”

HCWG’s campaign to clear out the large mounds of logs and debris from the former woodland at Cumberland Avenue has received strong support across the political spectrum. Jackie Baillie MSP (Labour) has told HCWG that she “is happy to support the campaign and will write to Angus Gilmour (the Council’s Head of Planning)”. Mr Gilmour’s department has also received strong representations from Councillor James Robb (SNP), while Councillor Gary Mulvaney (Conservative) has advised HCWG that he “agrees with the desire to get things tidied up” and that he also would be taking up the matter with council officials. Councillor Aileen Morton (Liberal Democrat) and Councillor Maurice Corry (Conservative) have added their voices to the call for action, writing to Mr Gilmour and sending strong messages of support to HCWG. As Councillor Morton says: “This is a substantial green space in what is a fairly densely built-up area; residents deserve better than its current condition.”

Over the last three weeks, HCWG members have also been calling house to house and gathering signatures from friends and family on a petition requesting the Council to take action under Section 179 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 to require the debris and logs to be removed from Cumberland Avenue. The petition with a total of 308 signatures was handed over personally to Councillor David Kinniburgh, Chair of the Council’s Planning, Protective Services and Licensing (PPSL) Committee on 14 April.

In all, 190 of the 308 signatures (62%) came from the immediate area around Cumberland Avenue, with the remainder mostly drawn from elsewhere in Helensburgh. The 190 signatures gathered around Cumberland Avenue represent 60% of the properties in the area. At a further 32% of properties, no-one was at home when HCWG called, leaving only 8% of properties (18 people in total) where residents refused to sign the petition.

With such strong political and public support for action, we now await the meeting of the Council’s PPSL Committee on 22 April, at which the matter is to be decided.

March 2015: Time to “Clear out that Mess!”

piled debris in March 2015Almost four years after woodland at Cumberland Avenue, Helensburgh, was unlawfully felled by its owners in May and June 2011, HCWG says it is high time that the mounds of debris and logs still remaining on the site were cleared out. That’s why we’ve initiated a new campaign to persuade Argyll and Bute Council to take action under Section 179 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 to require the removal of leftover debris and logs.

There are four reasons why this needs to be done as early as possible

  1. What’s left behind is essentially waste material from an industrial felling operation that has no place in a designated Open Space Protection Area within a residential area. The sooner it’s removed, the sooner natural regeneration can take place.
  2. The debris and logs pose a real danger, especially to children. If there’s ever a serious accident, then the landowners, and by implication the Council if it decides not to act, will bear a very heavy responsibility.
  3. The Council must finish the job it began last year, when it took direct action to replant 28 trees, and served enforcement notices that secured the removal of the building materials unlawfully stored on site and the lowering of the perimeter fence. The full benefits of these earlier actions will be evident only when the mounds of debris and logs are removed.
  4. There is a very strong determination among local residents to see the land at Cumberland Avenue cleared and restored and this has been backed by public visits by the MP, MSP and local councillors from across the political spectrum. Taking action now will demonstrate the Council’s commitment to its local communities.

HCWG has written to Councillor David Kinniburgh, Chair of Argyll & Bute’s Planning, Protective Services and Licensing Committee, making the formal request for action to be taken. You can read that letter here, along with the leaflet we are distributing in the neighbourhood around Cumberland Avenue. We will then be collecting signatures on a petition to be presented to the Councillor Kinniburgh and the Leader of the Council before the April meeting of the PPSL.

If you can help delivering leaflets or collecting signatures on the petition, please get in touch with Gordon Greig at gordon_greig@talk21.com

For more information, see:
For Argyll: 4 years after developers’ unlawful felling, Helensburgh Community Woodland Group calls time on the debris
Lochside Press: Clean-up called for at Cumberland Avenue

April 2013 (2)

On 26 April 2013, it was announced that J Allan Osborne (Preservations) Ltd had been placed into voluntary liquidation. This was one of four related companies for which Margery Osborne and Thomas Paterson were listed as directors. The other three companies, which were unaffected by the liquidation of J Allan Osborne (Preservations) Ltd, were Osborne (Builders) Ltd, Parkhaven Ltd and Osborne Interiors Ltd. These three companies still remain in active business as evident from on the Companies House register, which can be searched here:

The Companies House register also reveals that, earlier in April 2013, the registered name of Osborne Interiors Ltd had been changed to Parkhaven (Property) Ltd and that of J Allan Osborne (Preservations) Ltd to Parkwood (Glasgow) Ltd. At the same time, the registered offices of the companies were transferred from Helensburgh to a firm of accountants in Glasgow.

Importantly, Castle Woods and the land at Cumberland Avenue is owned by Margery Osborne and Thomas Paterson as individuals and not by their companies. These sites were thus not directly affected by the liquidation of J Allan Osborne (Preservations) Ltd.

Owners lodge appeal against replanting order

Cumberland Avenue, Helensburgh - ripping saplings

On 13 March 2013, Margery Osborne and Thomas Paterson, the owners of former woodland at Cumberland Avenue, appealed to the Scottish Government against the Tree Replacement Notice issued by Argyll and Bute Council. Surprisingly, the Scottish Government Reporter, who issued his decision on 4 June 2013, reduced the number of trees required to be replanted from 109 to 28, but still required the work to be completed by 15 November 2013.

At the same time, the Reporter dismissed the landowners claim for expenses against Argyll and Bute Council.
You can download details of the appeal decisions on the Scottish Government website here