Residents furious after developer ‘cuts down forest before applying for planning permission’

Before and after pictures of the woodland area (Pictures: Andrew Love/SWNS)

Residents in Devon are furious after they claimed a property developer cut down a forest before applying for planning permission.

The large woodland was cleared of its trees and reduced to flat mud to make way for nine new houses in Brixham.

But neighbours are angry because permission has not yet been granted by the local council - who have since voted against it.

A developer has been accused of clearing the woodland before securing planning permission (Picture: Andrew Love/SWNS)

Andrew Love, 56, who owns a house backing onto the land, said they were shocked in December when the developer started lopping down trees.

Several residents complained to South Hams District Council who confirmed the developer didn't have planning permission as yet.

The Forestry Commission is also now investigating reports of “alleged illegal felling”.

The woodland area at the end of Seymour Drive in Dartmouth, Devon, before it was cleared (Picture: Andrew Love/SWNS)
The area of trees was cleared in January (Picture: Andrew Love/SWNS)

Developer Dave Holloway is now locked in a battle with the local authority but residents say the damage has already been done and the wildlife cannot be reclaimed.

The application submitted to the council says work has not begun on the site.

But locals say from photographs it appears rubble and other debris may have been dumped there.

A tree survey - designed to show what species are in the woodland - was submitted on January 22 this year.

But Mr Love, a sales manager, said this was submitted after the trees were felled.

He said: "In December last year a whole team of people showed up and started taking one tree after another down.

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"We thought the trees would be there forever and they would never be felled. This woodland area was part of the National Forest Inventory for England.”

Resident Danielle Hunn said: “We are all outraged that our quiet Seymour Drive has become a target by unscrupulous developers.”

The planning application was taken to a council meeting on Wednesday, April 17, where members voted against it.

The former woodland area (Picture: Andrew Love/SWNS)
Residents are angry the trees have been removed (Picture: Andrew Love/SWNS)

The planning committee backed protesting neighbours, describing the site as an “overdevelopment” and “unneighbourly”.

Mr Holloway has confirmed that he owned the land but refused to comment further, saying: "I'd rather not."

A spokesperson for the Forestry Commission said: “Trees are a precious part of our environment and we take all reports of alleged illegal felling extremely seriously.

“We can confirm that we are investigating reports of alleged illegal felling at Seymour Drive in Dartmouth, Devon.

"Cutting down trees without permission can result in numerous actions including prosecution.”