February 2013

woodland felledOn 14 February 2013, Argyll and Bute Council ordered Margery Osborne and Thomas Paterson, the owners of former woodland at Cumberland Avenue, to replant a total of 109 individual trees which the Council decided were removed, uprooted, or destroyed in May and June 2011 in contravention of the Tree Preservation Order at the site.

HCWG welcomed the council’s decisive action following its 18 month investigation and has called on Mrs Osborne and Mr Paterson to take their responsibilities seriously and put right the eyesore they created in 2011.

You can download a copy of the Tree Replacement Notice here.  This Notice sets out the precise arboricultural requirements to be complied with, along with the relevant legislation under which it has been issued.  It also notified the owners of their rights to appeal against the notice.

What was one of the most substantial replanting notice ever issued in Scotland generated extensive press coverage, with stories at:

For Argyll ‘Council follows through – Tree replacement order served on Osborne Interiors

Helensburgh Advertiser ‘Developer ordered to replant 100 trees

Helensburgh TV

The Herald ‘Activists win woodland fight with landowner

Daily Record ‘Helensburgh landowners ordered to replant fallen trees

Lochside Press ‘Landowner told to replant 109 trees

Campaign News

Castle Woods

HCWG is currently engaged in two campaigns to protect and enhance the distinctive wooded environment of Helensburgh. These are at:

Castle Woods: Here we are seeking to save the historic Castle Woods from destruction by a proposed housing estate of between 48 and 72 dwellings and ensure instead that it is turned into a well-managed community woodland.
Cumberland Avenue: Here, we are working hard to secure the restoration of land at Cumberland Avenue, where woods were felled in 2011.

These campaigns have been widely reported in the local press and on the internet. You can access the latest news and past stories below, including that directly from HCWG.

We would encourage you to respond to recent news by ‘leaving a reply’ at the relevant website or sending a letter to our local paper, the Helensburgh Advertiser at:

editorial@helensburghadvertiser.co.uk

AGM 2013

HCWG’s Annual General Meeting was held on 21 January 2013: Click here for details. (33KB PDF)

December 2012

With still no announcement from Argyll and Bute Council on the action it intended to take against the unlawful felling at Cumberland Avenue, HCWG members collected a petition signed by over 300 local residents, calling on the Council to use all necessary powers at its disposal to ensure that the land was reinstated as an amenity area with suitable replanting for the benefit of local people and the local environment, without any further delay. On 4 December, the petition was personally presented to Councillor Roddy McCuish, then Leader of Argyll and Bute Council, by HCWG Convenor, David Adams

November 2012

There was an enthusiastic response from local people to HCWG’s draft management plan for Castle Woods, when it was presented to a public meeting held at Lomond School Sports Hall on 16 November 2012. For more information, see the reports at:

Strong response to Castle Woods plan (1.5MB PDF)

Public support for HCWG’s management plan for Castle Woods

Public support for plan to protect woodland

TV report on public meeting

On 8 November 2012, HCWG launched our own draft management plan to secure the long-term future of Castle Woods as a sustainable community woodland. For more information, see the reports at:

Hope takes root for community woods

Community Woodland Group takes initiative: public meeting on Helensburgh’s Castle Woods

New bid to protect woodland launched

TV report draft management plan

October 2012

Jutland CourtThe future of the derelict Jutland Court, adjoining Castle Woods generated considerable local controversy during October 2012.

HCWG’s position was clearly stated by its convenor, David Adams, who emphasised that the Group welcomed any plans to redevelop Jutland Court.  He added “Our view is that a redevelopment would take away the need to undertake development at Castle Woods as it will provide Osborne Interiors with enough work some time whilst meeting the need for affordable housing.” For more information, see the following reports:

Derelict Jutland Court refurbishment?

Plans to refurbish ex-MOD flat blocks (2.4MB PDF)

Planners under scrutiny on developers Osbornes’ manoeuvres in Helensburgh

So what is happening at Helensburgh’s Jutland Court?

August to October 2012

cumberland-avenuePolitical support for HCWG’s campaign to tackle the wasteland left by the 2011 felling at Cumberland Avenue intensified with visits from Alan Reid MP, Jackie Baillie MSP and from local SNP, Liberal Democrat and Conservative councillors. For more information, see the reports at:

Helensburgh Community Woodland Group gets a clean sweep of the politicals in Cumberland Avenue campaign

TV report on visit by Alan Reid MP

LibDem politicians visit eyesore felled site at Helensburgh’s Cumberland Avenue

Baillie tells Helensburgh developer to clean up Cumberland Avenue

TV report on visit of Jackie Baillie MSP

August 2012

In, HCWG launched its campaign to Save Castle Woods, eventually generating over 300 letters of objection to Osborne Interiors’ planning application to develop a 72-unit housing estate on the site of the woods. The company subsequently put the land up for sale but discussions with a major residential developer fell through. We wrote offering to Osborne Interiors offering to negotiate the purchase of the land for use as a community woodland. For more information, see the reports at:

Helensburgh’s Castle Woods saga: developer backs off but with a decoy on Cumberland Avenue

Castle Woods: Osborne Interiors home free in Helensburgh Advertiser

TV report on progress of  Castle Woods Campaign

Campaign launched to save Helensburgh’s Castle Woods

Helensburgh development sees council planners go for open source decision taking

TV report on launch of Castle Woods Campaign

April and May 2012

Osborne Interiors offered to replant the Cumberland Avenue site, provided they proceed with extensive housing development at Castle Woods as well as building one house at Cumberland Avenue – David Adams, HCWG’s Convenor, expressed strong criticism of any attempt to influence planning decisions in this way.

Campaigner’s fury over deal ‘sweetener’

Fury over woodland home plan

Osborne Interiors pursue the dance of the chain saws in Castle Woods

Concern over Castle Woods

April 2012

HCWG contacted all candidates standing for local elections for Argyll and Bute Council within the Helensburgh and Lomond wards and published their individual views on the future of Castle Woods and the Cumberland Avenue site. You can download this leaflet here.