Heaton Woods trust anger as trees are cut down

John Tempest at Heaton Woods

Some of the tree stumps that have been left

First published in News by , T&A Reporter

A war of the woods is rumbling on between conservationists and a developer after fencing and small trees were hacked down on land that both parties claim they own.

Members of Heaton Woods Trust called police twice in the past week claiming criminal damage but neighbour Asghar Choudhury, who has outline permission to build new homes at the back of nearby Ashwell Farm in Ashwell Road, says the strip of land that he was clearing belongs to him.

Police have confirmed inquiries are ongoing about damage reported to them but said the dispute over the land was a civil matter for the two sides.

John Tempest, from the trust, said: “We’re hoping the police will take action over the damage that’s been done. If they don’t it will cause a furore.

“The dividing fence has been destroyed, large trees have been mutilated and a hedgerow wrecked. We will have to consider our options and take civil action.”

The trust is adamant the area was sold to them 20 years ago. However, Mr Choudhary said: “I don’t think this will rumble on because the land is mine. I have all the proof I need, it’s on the deeds. The fence the trust thinks marks the boundary was only put there to keep his horses safe years ago by the man who sold the land and that’s no longer necessary. The drystone wall is the boundary marker.

“I can’t understand what the dispute is about anyway. I’m not going to build anything on that bit. There was just a lot of overgrown bushes. I’ve made it look better, nicer for people to look at. I’m going to landscape it, maybe put a Japanese acer there so there’s lovely colour in autumn.”

In March the Telegraph & Argus reported how the trust claimed victory in its green space fight against the possible houses after receiving a letter from Bradford Council’s solicitor which appeared to indicate it did own the piece of land included in an outline planning permission granted in November 2010 for Mr Choudhury to build 27 homes.

Claims by the trust the land belonged to it had originally been rejected by planning officers and ruled “immaterial”.

Comments (6)

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1:28pm Wed 14 Nov 12

Apollo says...

The trust should have sought to protect the trees via a Tree Preservation Order. that would have solved the issue of ownership and boundaries and hopefully have protected the trees.

Reference to the Definitive Maps for the area should be a simple matter to establish the boundaries.

However, Mr.Choudury has recognised that once gone the trees will never be replaced hence his actions to remove them.

As such he has acted in bad faith and is not likely to have endeared himself to anyone.
The trust should have sought to protect the trees via a Tree Preservation Order. that would have solved the issue of ownership and boundaries and hopefully have protected the trees. Reference to the Definitive Maps for the area should be a simple matter to establish the boundaries. However, Mr.Choudury has recognised that once gone the trees will never be replaced hence his actions to remove them. As such he has acted in bad faith and is not likely to have endeared himself to anyone. Apollo
  • Score: 0

1:31pm Wed 14 Nov 12

The Hoffster says...

As an Asian, I can unfortunately say 'my community' generally has no respect for the environment.

If there's a chance of making a quick buck, they'll do all they can to bring it to fruition (even if that means destroying 100 year-old trees).
As an Asian, I can unfortunately say 'my community' generally has no respect for the environment. If there's a chance of making a quick buck, they'll do all they can to bring it to fruition (even if that means destroying 100 year-old trees). The Hoffster
  • Score: 0

4:06pm Wed 14 Nov 12

Outraged English Subject says...

What dishonour and disgrace that Mr Choudury took this action, especially if the land is proven to be his.
What dishonour and disgrace that Mr Choudury took this action, especially if the land is proven to be his. Outraged English Subject
  • Score: 0

4:26pm Wed 14 Nov 12

Apollo says...

Outraged English Subject wrote:
What dishonour and disgrace that Mr Choudury took this action, especially if the land is proven to be his.
..........and even more so if it is proven not to be his land.

A good honest post from the 2nd poster on here but I was not implying anything racial in the original post.
[quote][p][bold]Outraged English Subject[/bold] wrote: What dishonour and disgrace that Mr Choudury took this action, especially if the land is proven to be his.[/p][/quote]..........and even more so if it is proven not to be his land. A good honest post from the 2nd poster on here but I was not implying anything racial in the original post. Apollo
  • Score: 0

4:27pm Wed 14 Nov 12

hortonite says...

while i agree with apollo in theory, i'm afraid that in practice a tree preservation order is useless. when my parents lived in Idle a well known property developer was granted permission to build hundreds of rabbit hutches on the land opposite my parents house. at the time there were several trees surrounding some garages, the trees were under a preservation order and the garages were known to contain asbestos. the developer was fully aware of both potential problems and made various public promises to deal with both issues. a few weeks later my parents were woken in early hours of sunday morning by the sound of several chain saws and tractor based fork lift. problems solved during the night, no trees to worry about no upright garages. there must have been a lot of crime that night because all the vehicles involved seemed to have had there licence plates stolen. obviously the police and council were informed but were "unfortunately" unable to act without registration numbers of the vehicles involved. there will always be someone prepared to carry out acts like this for a few quid.
while i agree with apollo in theory, i'm afraid that in practice a tree preservation order is useless. when my parents lived in Idle a well known property developer was granted permission to build hundreds of rabbit hutches on the land opposite my parents house. at the time there were several trees surrounding some garages, the trees were under a preservation order and the garages were known to contain asbestos. the developer was fully aware of both potential problems and made various public promises to deal with both issues. a few weeks later my parents were woken in early hours of sunday morning by the sound of several chain saws and tractor based fork lift. problems solved during the night, no trees to worry about no upright garages. there must have been a lot of crime that night because all the vehicles involved seemed to have had there licence plates stolen. obviously the police and council were informed but were "unfortunately" unable to act without registration numbers of the vehicles involved. there will always be someone prepared to carry out acts like this for a few quid. hortonite
  • Score: 0

5:20pm Wed 14 Nov 12

Apollo says...

As I said - once a tree is gone it is gone forever so to a developer the problem is solved.

Enforcement after the event is never likely to yield the result you might like particularly in Bradford where enforcement simply does not exist.

All you can say is that evil often befalls those who do evil.
As I said - once a tree is gone it is gone forever so to a developer the problem is solved. Enforcement after the event is never likely to yield the result you might like particularly in Bradford where enforcement simply does not exist. All you can say is that evil often befalls those who do evil. Apollo
  • Score: 0

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