Investigations are underway to determine if laws were broken by the removal of a stretch of hedgerows in Killinghall by developers of a 600 home project.
Harrogate Borough Council is awaiting responses from Persimmon Homes as part of its efforts to determine if an offence was committed by the removal on Penny Pot Lane.
A HBC spokesperson said: “Our investigations are continuing concerning the removal of the hedgerows in question. We have approached the developers and are awaiting their response to a number of questions we have regarding their actions.
"Once our investigations are complete, we will be able to ascertain if there has been a breach of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and/or an offence under the Hedgerow Regulations 1997, and if further action is required.”
News of the incident has continued to generate outrage since the Advertiser first reported the developer's actions. They have since apologized twice for the removal and claimed they were 'diligent' to ensure they removed only what was necessary.
Simon Usher, managing director of Persimmon Homes Yorkshire, said: “We have stated publically that it wasn’t our original intention to remove the vegetation, but we had the foresight to ensure the works were supervised by a qualified ecologist so that no protected wildlife was impacted. We were also extremely diligent in removing only what was necessary to implement the development.
“We have received some communications from local people expressing their concerns about what we did, and we are willing to cooperate with any agencies who deem it expedient in the circumstances to investigate the matter.
“We know some developers have a reputation for ‘land banking’ or ‘sitting on permissions’ and we want to ensure our investment can go ahead, contrary to this perception.
“We have apologised for any distress our actions have caused, and would like to take the opportunity to apologise again.
“Due to our continued commitment to the area we are hoping to invest over £160 million in Harrogate in the next few years, creating up to 3,800 full time jobs, directly and indirectly, and providing 376 brand new affordable homes for people in need, as well as a range of new two, three, four, five and six bedroom homes to satisfy local demand.”