I have had a number of emails from local residents about the clearing of the site at Townsend. There has been much anger that just before the planning application went before DCC the site was leveled and trees removed (see photo). I write this blog to clarify the current situation.
This is a matter that has been in the hands of the police and they have apologised for the delay in response. Indeed I have been chasing information for weeks. However I am assured improvements are in place and the misunderstanding was because there were two development sites being looked at at the time.
Basically the Developers made application on the site and this application was turned down. Following this the District Council attended the site and made observation in this visit that they felt there was potential for reptile (slow worm) habitation. Prior to a second planning application the developer cleared the site and then made the second application for planning permission.
The complaint is in reference to the clearing of the site and the destruction of habitat and any possible protected species. I understand now from the police that this would be very hard to prove, as you would need to show where actual protected species had been killed (evidence of remains). My understanding is that the Council only made observation that the site is good habitat - this is guidance and has no evidential weight. Therefore police could not identify any specific crimes at this site.