THE owner of a park homes estate next to the River Frome has started work to build hardstandings for new homes in an area where dozens of trees were felled.
Wyldecrest Parks sparked multiple complaints from neighbours of Riverside Drive last year when up to 39 trees were felled or damaged, with residents claiming the work had gone far beyond the company’s planning permission to clear small trees and saplings.
A tree protection order (TPO) was imposed by Bristol City Council, which is the planning authority for the estate off Frenchay Road, between Downend, Oldbury Court and Frenchay.
Wyldecrest was later refused permission to fell 26 more trees at the site.
However Wyldecrest chairman Alfie Best insists the current work, to install three or four new mobile homes on the land backing on to Glenside Close, is within the park’s existing consent, and does not need a new planning application.
Mr Best said: “There’s a new development going up, with new plots and park homes going on there.
“To be brutally blunt, we provide affordable housing and we’re looking to house the immigrants on the park, because affordable housing is what we do.
“We have instructed contractors to carry out works and they have to adhere to all planning and legislation, including TPOs.
“The whole park has got a TPO on it – that doesn’t stop us building.
“We had arboriculturalists check the trees over last year – the council didn’t want to take any action.
“The works that have been ongoing, to the best of my knowledge, don’t interfere with the trees that are there. Categorically there have been no trees removed.
“The site has planning permission.
“The whole park will be redeveloped eventually.”
Mr Best said the work was covered by the park’s site licence, which was granted last year, and historic permission.
In March his company was ordered to pay more than £33,000 in fines and costs for operating the site from 2021 without a proper licence, after the city council asked for evidence of planning permission for the site to operate as a caravan park and said none was supplied.
However Wyldecrest has appealed against the conviction, and Mr Best showed the Voice a copy of a letter from the council’s legal services department which says the authority has now found “several historic planning permissions” for use as a caravan site.
The letter adds: “It is currently unclear as to why it was so difficult to locate these documents, but further enquiries are being made in this regard.”
Frome Vale ward city councillor Lesley Alexander supported residents of nearby Glenside Close after trees next to their homes were cut down last year.
She said she had contacted the council’s planning enforcement department to ask it to look into the current work but “getting them moving as fast as the residents and I would like has been difficult”.
A spokesperson for the city council said officers had visited the site since the latest work started and the authority was currently “considering our position” over the works.