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Developer accused of felling Inverness oak trees

By Scott Maclennan

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Felled trees at Tulloch Homes development at Milton of Leys.
Felled trees at Tulloch Homes development at Milton of Leys.

Construction giant Tulloch Homes has been accused of felling “irreplaceable” trees at a Milton of Leys development, which has caused “uproar” among locals.

Highland Council officers were alerted by Inverness South member Ken Gowans who was himself notified of the work by a worried resident. All felling at the site was eventually stopped after the council’s forestry officer intervened – but not before two old oak trees were toppled.

Resident Nicola Morrison initially raised the alarm after checking progress at the site last Wednesday and was left “shocked and distraught” by what she saw.

“We couldn’t believe it – there was no rhyme nor reason why the trees were taken down. The plans for the development stop short of the area of the felled trees,” she said.

“Tullochs had been asked by the council’s forestry officer to stop but I don’t think they did because the chainsaws were going all day on Friday and they clearly decimated everything.”

She was also angered by the attitude of a Tulloch Homes representative who wrote to her that “on a more positive note” the “stems and wood from the trees in question” would be “turned into furniture.”

Councillor Ken Gowans said: “I am surprised at the flippancy of the remarks from Tullochs, very surprised. While it may appear to be accurate, I am taken aback because these trees were valued in the local community. There is only one oak tree left and that has caused a huge amount of upset in the local area.”

He maintained that “felling needs permission” either from planning or from Scottish Forestry, the Scottish Government agency responsible for forestry policy.

He wrote on social media: “I have checked this out with council officers and at this stage, it appears this has been undertaken outwith planning consent. No further felling will go ahead pending clarity of the planning consents. The felled trees are irreplaceable.”

A council spokeswoman said: “Our forestry officer has been following up concerns raised by a local resident regarding tree felling. They paid a visit to the site and have written to Tullochs asking them to stop all felling works until we had greater clarity of the position with regard to felling permissions as part of the planning application.

“We have since received confirmation from Tullochs confirming that all chainsaw work would stop while they investigated the situation. We will need to wait and see what felling permissions are in place before looking at future action.”

Tulloch Homes was asked for comment but did not respond.

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