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Firm fined £8,000 for chopping down trees in Ramsbottom
A company has been fined £8,000 for felling trees on protected land in Ramsbottom.
Derek and Dominic Barnes, directors of Astim Ltd, pleaded guilty to chopping down 12 mature trees on land adjacent to Ramsbottom Civic Hall, Bury magistrates heard.
The firm owns the land, but the former bowling green is designated as protected recreational land in the Bury unitary development plan.
The company felled two ash, four maple, three beech and three sycamore trees, which were also protected by the plan.
The trees were also protected as they are part of the Ramsbottom Conservation Area, which covers a considerable area of the town.
A Bury Council spokesman said they had received dozens of complaints about the felling, and that council officials visited the site with police.
Magistrates also ordered Astim Ltd, which is based in Blackburn, to pay a total of £1,145 in legal costs.
Ramsbottom Cllr Ian Bevan said: “The trees in question were protected by being in the Ramsbottom Conservation Area.
“But the level of protection this afforded them was not as high as a formal tree preservation order, so when the felling of trees was first reported to the council’s security team who visited the site with the police, there was nothing they could do to stop the works.
“However, since then the council’s enforcement team has been gathering evidence and I am pleased that a prosecution has been successful.”
A planning application to construct 32 flats for the elderly was recently withdrawn from the site, and Bury Council confirmed that if another application came forward to develop the site, compensation would have to be paid for the loss of the land.
Ramsbottom Heritage Society chairman Kate Slingsby added: “I am really keen that this should serve as a warning to others so that other people don’t chop trees down too.”
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