Felling of trees at Great Clifton, Cumbria by Woodglen Developments of Carlisle provoked outrage several years ago - in 2011 the same developer MIKE COTTER filed an application for development on the site.

The history of the site, the felling of trees, the ineffectual fines imposed, and the likely success of the present planning application on appeal (assuming that the Council have the courage to turn it down initially)  all points to the need for a radical overhaul of the penalties that can be levied on developers - and the need for all trees to be protected by default.

Email received 20 July 2011: the views expressed are those of the sender, reproduced here in good faith.

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Company Director Mike Cotter was found not guilty when the case was prosecuted - this is made clear in the original newspaper story.

The companies are a 'family affair' with several Cotters being named in company documents freely available on the internet.

Dear Steve

ref. your www.seered.co.uk/cumbriatrees.htm story.

The said developer, Mike Cotter, of Woodglen Developments, Longtown, Carlisle, has this month filed a planning application, under a different name, (Slackdean Ltd, of Carlisle), for nine properties on the land where he felled the trees.

Allerdale Council's website (see link below) invites comments....by 8/8/11 perhaps SeeRed site users could supply some?


Cotter's company was subsequently taken to court at Workington and fined 1,000 with 8000 costs, for the felling of the trees but as a result of some plea bargaining with DEFRA he pleaded guilty provided that it was his company and not him personally that was prosecuted and although DEFRA prosecuted the case they passed the overseeing of the court's replanting order to the Forestry Commission. The local story is here.

The Commission issued him with an order to replant mostly where he had felled, but their ineffectual system allowed him to appeal at which his lawyers were able to argue against what they claimed was the severity of the original order.

So the original replanting order was watered down and re-planting was just around the fringes of the site. Villagers were not allowed to be represented at the appeal hearing either.

So should Cotter succeed in his present application, then the profits will far outweigh the original fine and make a mockery of alleged "tree protection" once again, as well as sending out a clear message to developers that is ultimately of benefit to remove trees in the way of development since the profits far outweigh the penalties.

xxxx xxxxxx
Gt. Clifton
CA14 xxx

the original story is here

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