A Stroud resident has spoken of his ‘disbelief’ at discovering trees being felled in much-loved nature reserve.
Trees have been felled next to Fromehall Millpond in Fromehall Lane, off Cainscross Road, which prompted a reader to contact Stroud Times, saying: “This is one of the few remaining millponds in Stroud and now provides a valuable habitat for wildlife.
“Its sits beside the river Frome and close to Stroudwater Navigation. The millpond provides habitat for all kinds of species including little egrets, dippers, kingfishers, otters, swans. The removed trees than line the pond are frequented by, and nested in, blackcap, wren, gold crest, tree creeper, greater spotted woodpecker, jay and willow warbler and the trees were cut in nesting season.
“Several species of dragonfly, including emperior dragonfly are regular visitors along with common darters, broad bodied chasers and southern hawkers.
“There are thirty different species of plant surrounding the pond that attract several species of bee, overfly and many butterflies.”
A Stroud District Council spokesperson said: “We have recently been made aware that some works may have taken place on a site at Fromehall Lane on a Sunday. Our planning enforcement team is reviewing the information to establish if there has been a breach of planning control for this element.
“The site at Lodgemore Mills was granted consent for the tree works within the conservation area. The consent noted the presence of swans on the millpond and the decision includes an informative making the applicant aware of their duty under wildlife legislation. It is a criminal offence to interfere with nesting swans under the Wildlife and Countryside Act which can be reported to the police here https://www.gloucestershire.police.uk/ro/report/rwc/wildlife/report-wildlife-crime/
“A notification to carry out tree works at the site at Lodgemore Mills was submitted to Stroud District Council and considered. The submitted details were sufficient to outline the proposed works and met the requirements for such a notification.
“We consider the works would not have a detrimental impact to the wider setting of the Conservation Area or that the trees were not of a quality to warrant a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). Being in a Nature Reserve alone would not warrant making a TPO. As the works undertaken are not development Stroud District Council has no ability to require mitigation.
“However, the applicant’s responsibilities under wildlife legislation were highlighted. Any potential wildlife crimes are not a planning matter but could be investigated by the police and can be reported here https://www.gloucestershire.police.uk/ro/report/rwc/wildlife/report-wildlife-crime/.”