Investigations are taking place into the removal of trees at the controversial Eastway Employment Park development.Advertisement
The planning application from HBS Group for ten commercial units at the D’Urton Lane site was approved in May 2021. A subsequent application to use one of the units as a gym was approved earlier this year.
After raising concerns with Preston City Council about trees being cut down and burnt prior to planning permission being granted, locals say their ‘worst fears have been realised’.
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One resident, Mark McCormack, said: “The entire tree-line has been bulldozed by the developers. Not only does it look absolutely awful now, we’re concerned that they were not supposed to do it.
“The local residents are not happy, but if you look at the before and after images it’s clear to see why.”
Mark said he is now considering moving out of the area.
He continued: “I knew this would happen when I raised serious concerns before planning was granted, especially with regards to how the developers were ignoring any rules and regulations even at that time.
“We have been thrown under the bus from the moment planning permission was granted.”
Councillor for Sharoe Green, Maxwell Green, represented residents’ concerns at the Planning Committee meeting last year.
At the time he described the cutting and burning of trees – which he said had continued after warnings from Environmental Health and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service – as ‘highly irresponsible, negligent and dangerous’ and said it showed ‘no care for wildlife or local residents and their health’.
After asking for assurances at the time that the land and wildlife would be protected, Cllr Green has now reported the development in light of the apparent broken conditions.
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Cllr Green said: “Since planning permission was granted, I have kept an eye on the building work.
“About a month or two back, residents notified me that they believe the building is bigger than permitted, but also that the rest of the trees were being torn up, out of the ground. It was also being done at unsuitable times and earlier than work is permitted to begin on a daily basis.
“As I stated at Planning Committee, there are plenty of other sites that this could have been built on which are already developed; there are many sites around the employment area towards Asda for starters.
“This is a blight on the environment and for the poor residents who live around it, as there is now a big, dark building blocking out their gardens.”
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Preston City Council confirmed an investigation has been started.
A spokesperson said: “Planning permission was granted for a mixed use development on the site in May 2021 and amended in January 2022 where landscaping was considered and controlled by planning condition.
“Officers are aware existing trees on the site have been removed and investigations are ongoing.”
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