Tuesday, 2 February 2010
Grove Wood container update
This article appeared in the Evening Post on Friday 29th January:
A landowner is due in court charged with breaking planning rules for failing to remove an 'eyesore' storage container from riverside woodland in Stapleton.
Lord Houshang Jafari will appear before Bristol Magistrates' Court next month to face an allegation that he failed to remove a temporary building from Grove Wood despite being ordered to move it by the city council in September last year.
Campaigners who have protested over tree-felling in the woodland next to Snuff Mills Park believe the blue and white metal 'shipping container' should be removed because it ruins the look of the area.
Steve Micklewright, chairman of Snuff Mills Action Group, said: "It's right at the entrance to the wood and it's an eyesore. It has been broken into and someone was living in it over the winter. It's making the woodland ugly and it's serving no purpose. We've been campaigning for its removal because the woodland is in a conservation area.
"It's good the council is trying to act on it."
Mr Micklewright said the temporary building first appeared in May 2008 and has only been used on a handful of occasions. He said it was moved, but only further into the woodland, once the city council ordered it be removed in September last year.
Grove Wood, which is part of a Conservation Area next to the River Frome, has been at the centre of a long-running row between residents and Lord Jafari.
It was bought by Lord Jafari at public auction in November 2007 and part of it was felled without permission in January 2008. A woodland tree preservation order was made on it in April last year, protecting it from further felling.
Campaigners are now calling for the council to make a footpath in the upper part of the woods a designated public footpath.
John Mair, agent for Lord Jafari, said the alleged breach of planning rules was nothing to do with Lord Jafari and was connected with his company Rhino Group Limited, which he says owns the woodland.
Mr Mair said: "We will defend ourselves. This is not a breach of the regulations. We've not done anything wrong and we are only trying to run our business. We are trying to clean up the woodland and the riverbank. We are planning to reinstate styles and walls which have fallen down.
"We have an obligation to manage the woodland and ensure safety on the public right of way. The container is used for equipment used to clear a public right of way, to cut up wood and also for a generator to keep our guys warm when they are working.
"We bought the woodland for our own private reasons and want to look after it. Before we had it, the land and public right of way wasn't being looked after."
Lord Jafari, of Downleaze, Sneyd Park, is due to enter a plea to the allegation before city magistrates on February 17.