Outrage continues to build over hedgerow removal in Harrogate

Since last week Persimmon Homes has again apologized for the removal on Penny Pot Lane
Since last week Persimmon Homes has again apologized for the removal on Penny Pot Lane

Readers have continued to express their outrage to the Advertiser since our first story over the removal of a hedgerow and trees by a housing developer in Killinghall.

Since last week Persimmon Homes has again apologized for the removal on Penny Pot Lane, adding work was supervised by an ecologist and done to prevent delay of its 600 home project.

However for many like Henry Pankhurst, Chairman of the Harrogate Civic Society, it is not good enough.

Mr Pankhurst said: “An apology is precisely one hundred per cent useless, we want as much restitution as humanly possible.

“I also want to know why there was any suggestion of the hedges being cut down as opposed to keeping them.”

Chairman of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Roger Lynn, has called for a prosecution to be carried out if an investigation determines laws were broken.

Managing director of Persimmon Homes Yorkshire, Simon Usher, has declined requests for direct contact with the Advertiser, submitting responses through a PR company.

Mr Usher wrote: “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 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.”

Nigel Avison, Harrogate Borough Council’s Director of Economy and Culture said: “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.”