RESIDENTS horrified at the “ecological vandalism” of a hillside have objected in numbers to ensure the matter goes before Rotherham’s planning board.
A swathe of land off Reneville Road at Moorgate overlooking Canklow was cleared of trees and shrubs without warning last October.
A planning application has now been filed for the works five months later and more than 25 residents have already objected.
Campaigner Julie Stribley, of Canklow, said: “The applicant did not have environmental or geological surveys before doing extensive earthworks and vegetation removal, so can’t claim that there were no protected species or any of interest.
“He cannot claim to no flood risk with no geological survey. He has put many properties at risk who live below him now that the earth has no support from the hundreds of trees and bushes he’s removed.
“I am aware that the damage to the wooded environment has already been done but I’m also fully aware that in some cases, councils have chosen to expect landowners to replant and reinstate wooded land for environmental and amenity value.”
Another objector said: “Anything other than the rejection of this application would be incredulous.
“This is ecological vandalism and in these times of biodiversity loss and climate crisis, I can do nothing but place my trust in the board to reject this application and order the landowner to return the site to its previous condition.
“The high visibility of this location from the surrounding area in a prominent position overlooking a wide area of the town makes this a particular eyesore.”
The application, from a Mr A Baby, is for the “importation of material and change of use of land to form widened access at the Reneville Road property.
The landowner told the Advertiser in October that he was “retaining the drive” and creating somewhere for his children to play.
Dr Nicola Rivers, living landscape development manager at Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust, said: “We object to this retrospective application for the works carried out last October without any permission, advice or ecological or geological survey.”
It was incorrect for the planning application to suggest the site had no conservation importance, she added, as part was in Canklow Woods.
A resident of Mountenoy Road said: “I’ve been fortunate enough to see deer and red kites in these beautiful woodlands from my window. Two weeks later, I was horrified to see tractors digging it up and clearing the site.
“I am very concerned that this man has widened his drive in order to provide access for bigger digging and construction vehicles in the future.
“In my opinion, he has created a landslide and flood risk as well as blighting the landscape.
“This is at a time when the Government and councils are undertaking tree planting in an attempt to reduce flooding and land erosion.”
Applications with five or more objections go before the planning board, unless officers are minded to reject. No decision date has been set.